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Group Clears Invasive Plants at Elliot Park

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By Reed Pugh

July 21, 2023.  For the past seven years, the Aberjona Initiative, a working group of the Conservation Commission, has been working to remove invasive plants, improve habitat and open access to our beautiful waterways in downtown Winchester. With limited funds, the efforts have been focused on Mill Pond and the riverway below the Center Falls Dam. Recent support from private groups and individuals has allowed the Aberjona Initiative to expand its efforts, and the last two years of Aberjona Clean-up Day have included amazing physical efforts from Winchester Residents to clear invasive plants along our river.

This past April, during Aberjona Clean-up Day, a small group of residents put great effort into clearing invasive plants at Elliot Park, the large tree-filled park on Wedge Pond across from Stop and Shop. This group, led by Bill Band, has decided to continue their efforts with regular visits, under the oversight of the DPW and the Aberjona Initiative, with the goal of opening up the views of Wedge Pond and eliminating the incredible overgrowth of Oriental Bittersweet, Multiflora Rose, Buckthorn, Bindweed and many others. It is critical to remove these plants from waterways as they provide unhealthy food options for local wildlife, strangle out important native plant communities, and don’t attract important insects and pollinators that are critical to a healthy system. Most importantly, this working group will continue their efforts in future years to keep the plants contained, which is critical.

Recently, Bill Band and Reed Pugh (Aberjona Initiative) met with Mike Wise, Jim DiTullio, and Jim Shattuck of the DPW to work out responsibilities moving forward, with the DPW planning to remove the cut materials after the group's efforts, and help with some large material later in the year. 

Bill is looking for a few more people willing to get dirty and perform some hard work on this project.  If you are interested in making a significant difference in this park or anywhere else along our downtown riverfront, and are capable of hard work please email Reed Pugh at reed@barkingdoggardens.com. We also have several upcoming projects that would benefit from financial support. 

Our hope is with a significant effort that we can restore the habitat and beauty of Elliot Park with its views of Wedge Pond.

Reed Pugh is a member of the Conservation Commission and the Aberjona Initiative.  Photo courtesy of MapQuest.

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