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Volunteers spruce up Pine Bush Preserve

Event continues Earth Day tradition of public service

Guilderland Girl Scout Daisy’s learn how to plant a pitch pine seedling at the Pine Bush Saturday, April 19.

Guilderland Girl Scout Daisy’s learn how to plant a pitch pine seedling at the Pine Bush Saturday, April 19. Photo by Billy DeLap.

— Nearly 100 volunteers showed up at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve on a warm, sunny day to lend a helping hand on a variety of important projects that help maintain the unique ecosystem.

On Saturday, April 19, volunteers from across Albany County came to the preserve to help plant pitch pines, remove invasive plants and pick up trash that was hidden under the snow.

Originating in 1970, Earth Day, which took place Tuesday, April 22, but was celebrated early by the Pine Bush program, was created as part of a movement that led to numerous acts to help protect the environment. The movement that brought attention to environmental problems paved the way for laws such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act and many others and is now a day celebrated in more than 140 countries.

“Earth Day is a day of environmental stewardship and thinking about the earth as a whole and doing environmental work. It’s a day to be thankful for rare and unique habitats like we have here in the preserve — a globally rare ecosystem,” said Jesse Hoffman, a Preserve Steward at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.

“Here, we’re celebrating by getting volunteers involved to do things like trash clean up and cleaning up roads in the preserve because obviously you don’t want trash all over the place. We’re doing invasive species removal, so ripping out plants that are not native, and we’re doing tree seedling planting. Some of our restoration sites are lacking pitch pine trees, which is one of the namesakes,” said Hoffman.

Created in 1988, the preserve covers 3,300 acres and is one of only 20 similar ecosystems in the world. It is also home to the Karner Blue butterfly, which is considered an endangered species. The butterfly is a native species to the preserve and requires the unique habitat for its survival.

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