Greg Williams of Interfaith Power and Light works with several Penn State Altoona student volunteers along Bells Gap Run in the Bellwood-Antis Community Park.  Williams not only led the coordination of the volunteers, but provided lessons to the younger workers so they’d better understand the importance of removing invasives and replacing them with native trees and shrubs.

Interfaith Power and Light (IP&L), an ecumenical, faith-based environmental organization, has coordinated and facilitated hundreds of volunteer hours of help for the township to address invasive plants which plague our public land. IP&L has been a partner in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership and has ultimately been responsible for the removal of thousands of invasive plants and the planting of several hundred native trees and shrubs here in Bellwood-Antis.

The work has been done at the Becker Road Trailhead, along the Bells Gap Trail, and in the Bellwood-Antis Community Park. Folks will notice the still-young plantings by their protective tubes, stakes, and labels. Thanks to the protective tubes, survival rates so far have been exceptional and we’re optimistic the native plantings will outcompete the invasive plants they are intended to replace.

The folks who have helped on the Bells Gap and Becker Road Trailhead work include:

  • T.C. Curry from Tyrone
  • Kyle Knepp from Phillipsburg
  • Jody Wallace from Tyrone
  • Ken Goodfellow of Altoona
  • Cindy Baney from Altoona
  • Steve Hoover and his family
  • Mira Sparacino and her mom
  • Ron Porter of Pine Grove Mills
  • Antis Township Environmental Intern Alyssa Glotfelty of Palmyra

Groups included:

  • A group of about dozen different students from PSU Altoona “mustered” by James Fogarty.
  • PSU Altoona’s Hemlock Society, “mustered, ” by Riley Wiesinger from Altoona.
  • The Sheetz Scholars from PSU Altoona.
  • A group of Bellwood-Antis students organized by high school athletic director Charlie Burch

Watch here soon for more on the specific invasive plants we removed, native seedlings that were planted, and work projected for the next year.