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Audubon seeking volunteers to pull water chestnuts

JAMESTOWN — The Audubon Community Nature Center is looking for volunteers to help pull water chestnut out of its Big Pond on Saturday, June 6.

Registration and training are from 8:30 to 9 a.m. with the work party from 9 a.m. to noon.

The European water chestnut can cover a water body so densely that it chokes out other plants and animal life. A different species from the water chestnut that can be purchased in cans, in its native habitat in Europe, Asia and Africa, the plant is kept in check by local insect parasites not found in North America.

Volunteers will walk and kayak in the pond to pull the plants, which should be about the size of a half dollar at this time of year.

Audubon has a limited number of kayaks and waders for volunteers to use. Volunteers and staff will not share equipment due to coronavirus.

Gloves and a limited amount of gear is provided. Audubon officials ask those attending to bring their own kayak or chest waders if they have them, wear long pants, closed-toed shoes and sunscreen. Also, bring a change of clothes or towels and snacks and drinks.

Volunteers will be able to physically distance from others most of the time during the pull. Volunteers are requested to wear a mask during the brief training session prior to the pull, when those attending will learn how to properly identify, remove, and dispose of this water-based invasive.

Working since 2013, Audubon staff and volunteers have made progress in controlling the water chestnut infestation to prevent it from spreading to other waterways in the region. Although seeds remain viable in the pond muck for as long as 12 years, by pulling the plants each year, fewer and fewer seeds remain. Eventually, only minimal pulling to safeguard the pond will be needed.

With limited capacity, a reservation to participate is required by midnight tonight. To learn more and register, call 569-2345 during business hours or go to AudubonCNC.org/Volunteer.

For more information contact Jeff Tome at jtome@auduboncnc.org.

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