In early March, a team of six volunteers and three Sky Island Alliance staff braved the chilly spring evenings at Aravaipa Canyon Preserve to do two days of hard, earnest work: pull invasive periwinkle from the creek bed.
The nine of us spent over ten hours total that weekend bent over the cool Arizona water, which felt good in the sun as we loosened vinca from the hard soil with pitchforks and pickaxes. We pulled the roots free from the dirt with gloved hands, all while trying not to disturb the native flora nearby, and threw every tiny piece of the plant into a bucket. When the buckets got too full, we emptied them into big black bags and carried them back to the truck.
Pulling vinca is a dirty and wet job—and it will give you a full body workout! But we all returned to camp feeling lighter, excited to know that we’d helped remove most of the vinca from a small area. While we know some vinca will ultimately grow back, future volunteer groups will clean up those new shoots so that The Nature Conservancy can plant native flora in the areas we’ve cleared. Less vinca present means more opportunity for native plants to take root!
In essence, in our work that weekend, we were all rooting for native flora to win out against the invasive periwinkle. And with your help volunteering, we take a few steps closer to this goal every trip.
Come to Aravaipa Canyon Preserve with us! You can register for one of these upcoming spring trips:
Besides triumphing over invasive vinca, the benefits of coming on these trips with us include seeing native wildlife (like Gould’s turkey and white-tailed deer), drinking and eating with other wildlife enthusiasts around a warm campfire, and unplugging from technology! We hope to see you on a future trip soon.