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Second Saturday Workday: Manage Invasive Plant Species at the Sousa Family Preserve in Alfred

On Saturday, July 9 at 9 AM we will gather at the 328-acre Sousa Preserve where we have discovered a dreaded invasive plant called Japanese stiltgrass. We hope that on this workday we can hand-pull this small area of troublesome grass before it goes to seed and spreads. If there is time, we will also focus on removing some barberry and doing some trail clearing.

When and Where?

This large preserve features rolling forest, rocky slopes, and numerous vernal pools. A 1.7-mile trail explores part of the interior and runs along an old road on the south edge of the preserve. The trailhead is on a road called Wilderness Acres Drive, accessible from Gebung Rd. The road is called “Pheasant Run” on some online maps, but the actual road sign will read Wilderness Acres Drive. You can see a map of the meeting location here. Our parking area is a wide gravelly area and there is a small parking sign at the designated area. Click here for a property map that shows the trail (scroll down). We will start out counterclockwise on the trail loop. If you are running late and miss the gathering at the parking lot, please call Cheri at 207.358.9695 to be sure you know how to find the group as part of the workday will be off the marked trail.

We will plan to go ahead with the workday even in a light rain, but if conditions are questionable, please check our Facebook group for volunteers or call Cheri for updates. Please sign up below. This helps us know who to expect.

What Needs Doing?

The top priority for this workday is removing the patch of invasive stiltgrass. This will require a ¾ mile easy-to-moderate hike along the old road and then some kneeling, searching, and low-effort weeding to remove the grass.

Once we are sure the patch has been eradicated, we can move on to pulling barberry plants in the same local area, which is a tougher species to remove. If we get through finding and removing what we can of those, we could call it a day, or, if we are feeling energetic, hike the rest of the trail (another 1.25 miles or so of moderate, sometimes steep trail) to help trim back branches. After each task, there will be the option of heading back, as the old road is easy to follow back toward Wilderness Acres Drive.

What to Bring and Wear:

  • Sturdy shoes for distance trail walking and possible wet areas 
    Work gloves
  • Loppers for trail trimming (if we get to that task)
  • Water bottle/hydration (very important!)
  • Sunblock
  • Bug spray

Please also dress to protect against ticks. Having pant legs tucked into socks and a shirt tucked into pants is a great first line of defense against ticks, as you have a better chance of seeing them before they get to your skin.

Email Cheri Dunning at or (207) 358-9695 (call/text). Thank you, and we'll see you on the trail!

Contact Information

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Though we aim to have safe volunteer events, parking in a new place and working in the woods can come with hazards. By checking this box you acknowledge that you will attend this workday at your own risk. Thank you!

Is there anything you'd like us to know about you before the event? This might include your interests or experience, your preferred pronouns, or any other information you think is important. We look forward to working with you at the Sousa Family Preserve!