Several large Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) trunks are sized up by Bob Foley (left) and Kevin Coers before cutting.

Felled trees are chopped up into manageable-sized pieces.

Andrew Coers (left) and John Foley drag a cut tree to a brush pile. Trees will either be burned or left as brush piles to serve as wildlife habitat.

Diary of a Restoration

7th Installment, October 19, 2003

On Sunday, Oct. 19, Eagle Scout candidate Andrew Coers gathered a team of friends and family members to help the Illinois Raptor Center/Girl Scout partnership restoration by removing a stand of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima). Tree of Heaven is native to China and has been spreading rapidly over a hillside in the five-acre valley.

All experts who have toured our property have encouraged removal of the trees. Non-native plants crowd out native plants and also put stress on those insects, birds and animals that rely on natives for their own survival.

Eagle scout candidate Andrew Coers (far right)is pictured with a crew of friends and family that helped cleara stand of non-native trees at the Illinois Raptor Center.

One of the most difficult aspects of this restoration is explaining to the public why a stand of healthy trees must be removed. Replacing alien species with natives will help our limited 15-acre property support as much wildlife as possible. This is not simply an exercise in recreating the historic Illinois landscape.

Eagle Scout projects have been crucial to the Illinois Raptor Center over the years. Much important work has been carried out by teams of scouts in much less time than it would have taken our volunteers. We are indebted to Andrew and other scouts who assist us with projects like this one.

Click here to learn more about our efforts to control alien and invasive species.



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