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Battling Invaders

Volunteers remove invasive species in Marie Butler Leven Preserve.

An AmeriCorps NCCC team, in conjunction with the Buddhist environmental group Earth Sangha, hosted an all-day volunteer event on Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Marie Butler Leven Preserve in McLean to remove invasive species from the park’s 20 acres.

Local Boy Scouts, along with members of the local branch of Roots and Shoots — a youth based environmental group that is part of the Jane Goodall Foundation — were among the volunteers.

Marie Butler Leven Preserve has become overrun with English ivy, an invasive plant species that endangers native plant life. Earth Sangha has been working in the park to eradicate the invasive species in hopes of creating a native arboretum. The AmeriCorps team has been working at several Fairfax County Parks for the last month. Team member Katy Willson coordinated the Marie Butler Leven Preserve volunteer day along with Earth Sangha.

“This is a great way to support local non-profit groups and learn how to control invasive species in the area,” said Willson.

Corps Members, ages 18-24, must complete 1,700 hours of service during their 10-month term. In exchange for their service, Corps Members receive an education award, which can be applied to educational loans or future costs associated with secondary education. AmeriCorps is directed by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply. Many programs have no upper age limit. For more information apply now at www.americoprs.gov/nccc or call 1-800-942-2677.