On Jan 8, UUMiami families and friends joined together to rid our campus of a serious scourge.
This intergenerational project was inspired by the tireless work of long time volunteer Ruth Trencher. She has devoted countless hours to gardening our campus, but lately has not been able to keep it up.
To our great delight, Ruth was able to come in person on this day and could pitch in and — always a teacher — explain some fine points.
The main target was the invasive air potato vine. This is a deadly threat to our ecosystem. It can spread at an alarming rate, sometimes 8 inches per day! It will engulf and stifle other plants, killing small natives, and even climbing to the top of a tree canopy to block sunlight.
The vines must be pulled up by the roots. And their weird brown “potatoes” have to be hunted like easter eggs, then destroyed. These bulbils can reproduce out of control, creating more and more vines.
New learning for our children: Ruth explained about another unwanted plant on our grounds. A killer pest with small red berries, each with a black spot, looking something like a ladybug. It is extremely toxic and must be handled with great care. When Ruth was a girl, a child died because they tried to make a necklace from the berries.
And so, a day of all-ages work, education, and connection.
For the future, UUMiami is going to be looking for year-around gardening volunteers to honor Ruth and boost her efforts as she returns to gardening. Who’s going to help?
Special thanks to Bezel Pacheco for coordinating this project and providing bagels.