Restoring Your Forest: A Matching Grant Opportunity
Shenandoah National Park Trust is funding a multi-year initiative to help our national park managers control non-native, invasive plants and re-establish native species in high-priority areas of the park. Over 300 non-native plant species have invaded our park. These fast-growing plants—like tree of heaven, Japanese stiltgrass and the aptly named mile-a-minute vine—out-compete native species and dramatically alter the ecosystem. These invasives change the forest composition, change wildlife habitat and food sources and diminish the park’s exquisite biodiversity.
Invasive species also alter visitor’s experiences in the park. Shenandoah was set aside as a national park due in part to the collection of plants and animals these mountains harbor. For generations, people have come to Shenandoah to enjoy these native species. Visitors’ experiences in the park will surely be diminished if rapidly growing vines and non-native trees dominate the landscape.
Given the scale of the problem and the size of the national park, it is unrealistic to attempt to eradicate invasive plants from every infected area. The goal of the Forest Restoration Initiative is to remove the most egregious invasive plants in priority areas, and to re-establish native plant populations. The project area encompasses over 1,800 acres.
Many people choose to live along the perimeter of the park due to the natural beauty and rural landscape. In this vein, many landowners are working to eradicate invasive, non-native species on their properties and to re-establish native plants. Controlling invasives within the park will provide great benefits to these adjacent landowners.
The Nature Conservancy works with many of these landowners to achieve these goals, which is the impetus behind their commitment to support this initiative with a$50,000 pledge. (In fact, the money they have committed is a result of a bequest by a major landowner who wanted a portion of her estate to support conservation efforts.)
The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and Bama Works have provided grant funding for this initiative. The BAND Foundation, a family foundation, has provided a $50,000 challenge grant, which Shenandoah National Park Trust must match. Shenandoah National Park Trust is providing funds as well as volunteer support for this project; our donors will help park specialists build cages to protect native tree saplings the park has planted in areas that have been cleared of invasives.
Help us match this grant with your donation.