UT's Army ROTC Tackles Mulch in Onion Creek Metropolitan Park

AustinParksFoundationParks, Volunteer Leave a Comment

Just over a year ago a mountain of mulch was created in Onion Creek Metropolitan Park after downed trees from the Halloween Floods of 2013 were chipped. This November 100 University of Texas Army ROTC cadets pitched in to distribute the mulch to the trees in the park to keep the ground moist and prevent lawn mowers from damaging tree trunks.
The organization displayed by the Army ROTC cadets was impressive, complete with a base camp tent, sign-in table, and poster-sized maps showing the mulching project sites. For efficiency across the large 180-acre park, the cadets were divided into nine teams, each with their own set of tools and team leader.
To kick off the project, Sara Torres from the Friends of Onion Creek provided a brief history of the park before our own Volunteer Manager and Environmental Educator, Bill Stout, gave the safety talk including tool use, staying hydrated, and looking out for wildlife and poison ivy.
The nine groups spent two hours filling wheelbarrows and mulch sleds, trekking the mulch to trees around the park, spreading the mulch thumb deep and caring for the trees by practicing root collar clearing.
On several occasions, it was wonderful to hear team leaders repeating the mulching and root collar clearing instructions, almost verbatim, reciting them back to their individual project volunteers. This ensured consistency and quality of work. We’d like to send a big THANK YOU to all of the UT Army ROTC cadets who volunteered with us in Onion Creek Metropolitan Park!
Special thanks to Manuel Flores at Urban Forestry for loaning their wheelbarrows to this project.  APF is especially grateful to Sara Torres and Annie Harton for organizing the event and providing their time and continued commitment to keeping the Onion Creek Park and Greenbelt safe and healthy for neighbors, trees and wildlife alike!
We love working with student and corporate groups to organize volunteer projects. For more information contact volunteer@austinparks.org

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