Harrison Goldspiel: Are you ready to take the Scotch Broom Challenge? | TheUnion.com
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Harrison Goldspiel

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Harrison Goldspiel: Are you ready to take the Scotch Broom Challenge?

On Saturday, March 7, five AmeriCorps members from the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) took on the Scotch Broom Challenge at Hirschman's Pond in honor of National AmeriCorps Week.

National AmeriCorps Week (March 9-13) highlights the inspirational community efforts of AmeriCorps members — past and present — around the country.

To celebrate the occasion, SNAP members at Sierra Streams Institute organized a restoration workday at Hirschman's Pond in Nevada City. Joined by the Sierra Foothills Audubon Society and several other community members, this team took to the Hirschman's Trail carrying weed wrenches, loppers, and other tools to remove the invasive plant Scotch broom, which covers large patches of the forest.

Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) is a highly aggressive non-native invasive species that was introduced to the United States from Europe in the 1800s as ornamental and for erosion control. In addition to the ecological damage it does to native plant and wildlife species, Scotch broom is highly flammable and poses a great risk to neighboring homes and communities.

In addition to the ecological damage it does to native plant and wildlife species, Scotch Broom is highly flammable and poses a great risk to neighboring homes and communities.

In 2007, the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County created the Scotch Broom Challenge as an initiative to address this problem.

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Supplying groups with training, equipment, and promotional materials, the Fire Safe Council supports organized pulls at dozens of sites throughout Nevada and Placer counties. The AmeriCorps Week event at Hirschman's Pond was one of the first Scotch Broom Challenge pulls for 2015. The team of SNAP members and volunteers worked throughout the warm sunny morning, clearing large patches of Scotch broom along the Hirschman's trail and restoring forest habitat for native plants, mammals, birds and other wildlife.

This is the third Scotch Broom Challenge Sierra Streams Institute has hosted at Hirschman's Pond. Sierra Streams Institute will host another Scotch Broom Challenge pull on Saturday, April 11 at the Deer Creek Environs Trail in Nevada City. Volunteers are welcome to join them. For more information, please email Harrison Goldspiel at harrison@sierrastreams.org.

Harrison Goldspiel lives in Nevada City.