Thursday, February 12, 2015


The 2014 Work Day tackled the site adjacent to the 2013 site, completing work along the walkway from Main Street into the park.

A great job was done by the Town on site preparation then a strong volunteer turnout took on the task, finishing early enough for us to split into two groups with one working along the riverfront trail and the other doing some needed work at the 2013 site.

It was a very satisfying effort for all!

For 2015 and beyond the focus will be on getting control over resprouting of invasives and then on landscape restoration at the 2013 and 2014 sites, with an emphasis on creating natural habitat. The plan includes restoring the tree canopy as well as natural understory.

Thanks to everyone for volunteering! You can see pictures of the 2014 Work Day, courtesy of Duffy Schade, by CLICKING HERE.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How to Register for 2014 "Battling Bittersweet" Work Day

Thanks for your interest in the October 25, 2014 Glastonbury Partners in Planting "Battling Bittersweet" Work Day at Riverfront Park, 200 Welles St., Glastonbury, CT!

Please be sure to register no later than October 23rd.



Email your name and contact info (phone number and e-mail address) to   Please confirm that you are at least 18 and that you are experienced using the tools you will be bringing (see "What To Bring" post in this blog). For 2014 there will only be one work shift from 9 AM to noon.

If you miss the registration deadline or you're suddenly available you are still welcome to come to the event and you will be added to a work team if at all possible. However we prefer pre-registration for planning purposes.

If you do not have access to email you can mail your registration information to GPIP, P.O. Box 378, South Glastonbury, CT. 06073.

Please volunteer! It will be a great day!

Once you have registered be sure to review the material on this site, especially safety precautions, what to wear, and what to bring. If you cannot identify bittersweet or poison ivy it is also extremely important that you review the Plant Identification section.

Please Note: Volunteers under the age of 18 will be asked to provide a signed parental consent form.

Directions to the Work Site

The Work Day will be at:

Riverfront Park
200 Welles St.
Glastonbury, CT. 06033

Coming from the intersection of Main and Welles Streets, 200 Welles St. is the first left immediately after Riley and Scranton. Look for a large sign for the Riverfront Park and a smaller Glastonbury Partners in Planting sign.

Park in the lot closest to the baseball field then follow the signs directing you down the walking path toward the dog park. Look for the Work Day sign-in and work area about 100' down the path.

The following coordinates are for the exact location: 41.71002 -72.61257

What to Expect on Work Day

Please review the material in this site regarding safety, tools, procedures, what to wear, directions to site, and so on. Be sure you have registered. If you have not registered you may still come to the Work Day and we can probably get you on a work team.

Click here to view a video from the 2013 Work Day. This will give you a great overview of the planned work and some of the great people who volunteered last year.

Here's what to expect when you arrive for your chosen work shift!
  • Bring your own tools, gloves, etc. (see info elsewhere on this site). Make sure your tools are sharp and in good working order before you arrive.
  • Arrive at least 10 minutes early to allow time to park, walk to the site and sign in. Volunteer oritntation begins at 9 AM.
  • If you have any questions ask anyone wearing a GPIP safety vest and they'll help you.
  • You will be asked to sign a liability waiver at sign in, and given a GPIP button to show that you have signed in.
  • Every volunteer will be assigned to a Work Team when they sign in.
  • Each Work Team will consist of 4 to 6 volunteers working with 1 Team Leader.
  • Each Work Team will have their own work area, as indicated by area signs.
  • We will begin with a mandatory 10 minute orientation session covering introductions, safe practices, plant identification, and cutting procedures.
  • If you have not signed in and signed the waiver you will not be allowed to work.
  • After the 10 minute orientation the Work Teams will take their tools to their designated work area and attack the invasives!
  • The work will be moderately strenuous. There will be no heavy lifting but a lot of bending and arm-work with loppers.
  • There is some POISON IVY at the site so plan on being extra careful not to get into it. If you have a severe reaction to poison ivy it might be better to "pass" on volunteering; we'd rather have one less volunteer than see you at the emergency room a few days later.
  • The work will take 3 hours including the orientation session.
  • Take breaks as needed and hydrate frequently.
  • If you tire before noon it's OK to stop early. We appreciate your volunteering regardless of how long you can work. Use your own judgment and don't overdo it.
  • There is no hurry. Safety is paramount!
  • There will be a break area with seating, water, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Tecnu (poison ivy wash) and insect spray will be provided if you forget to bring your own.
  • Please SIGN OUT when you leave and return your GPIP button.

Important Safety Precautions

You will be responsible for taking appropriate safety precautions and for working in a manner that does not risk the safety of others. This includes but is not limited to:
  • Learning how to identify and avoid poison ivy (see "Plant Identification and Tools").
  • Signing in upon arrival.
  • Do not begin work before the opening safety and work plan meeting, which will be held at 9 AM sharp.
  • Completing the safety meeting and receiving an identified to wear. Nobody will be allowed to work without this identifier.
  • Knowing how to safely work with the tools you bring.
  • Leaving a safety margin between yourself and other volunteers.
  • Carefully handling any debris.
  • Not leaving tools on the ground where others might trip or be injured.
  • Wearing attire that is appropriate for the work.
  • Following all safety instructions provided.
  • Checking yourself for ticks, using poison ivy wash, and showering as soon as you reasonably can after finishing work.
  • Properly and promptly cleaning all tools, attire including hats, gloves and shoes, and making sure that family members and others at home are not exposed to the poison ivy oil (urushiol) that may be on items you used or wore at the work day.
  • If you are not confident with your knowledge and ability to work safely, or are unsure of how you may react to poison ivy, we ask that you volunteer to help with the sign-in and break area rather than the wooded work area.
First Aid:

There will be a basic safety kit at the work site sign-in table. Feel free to bring your own safety kit and any medications unique to your situation (for example, if you are very allergic to bee stings).


Be sure to stay well hydrated. Water will be provided at the sign-in table. Feel free to bring your own. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

What to Bring (and Not to Bring)

You will need to provide your own tools. Mark your tools with your name, initials or other method to distinguish your tools from those of others. Bring what you have:


Heavy Gloves: Capable of withstanding multiflora rose thorns. Tip: Break in your gloves prior to the work day to avoid developing blisters.

Eye Protection


Pruning Shears:

Small Bow Saw (Recommended):

(Also see "What to Wear" post)


Water, sports drink or other non-alcoholic hydration.

Sun block (perspiration resistant).

Tecnu or other poison ivy wash.

Insect repellent.


Small Pruning Saw:

Weed Wrench:

Pruning Stick (6' maximum length):


SOMETHING TO CARRY YOUR TOOLS: If you bring more than a few tools you may want to bring a tool belt, pail or other means of carrying your tools around the site. This helps keep track of them. You will also be carrying some plastic tape (will be provided) for marking cut stumps.

ALSO SEE: "Plant Identification and Tools"

DO NOT BRING: Axes, hatchets, machetes, power tools (chain saws, weed whackers, etc.); heavy equipment (brush hogs, generators, etc.); pole saws, chains, come-alongs. We will not be doing heavy work so leave the Cat D4 at home.




What To Wear on Work Day

  • Heavy gloves capable of withstanding multiflora rose thorns.
  • Sturdy footwear that extends up to cover at least the ankle, if possible.
  • No flip-flops, sandals or ordinary shoes worn without socks.
  • Eye protection.
  • Hat.
  • Long-sleeved shirt.
  • Long pants.
  • Sunblock (perspiration resistant).
  • Insect repellant of choice.

Plant Identification and Tools

The following video playlist will help you be able to identify poison ivy and oriental bittersweet on work day. Be sure to review before you arrive. It could save you an ocean of calamine lotion, or worse, a trip to the emergency room.

Please take the risk of poison ivy seriously, take every precaution, and thorough clean-up is a must after you are done working. Remember that the urushiol oil (the oil that causes the allergic reaction) is very persistent on shoes, clothing, tools, gloves, etc, which means family members and others can be exposed via contact with these items (while putting your work day clothing in the laundry, for example). If you are not familiar with the precautions and necessary clean-up, do your homework before the work day because after is too late.

There are also several videos on work day tools (how to use, how to sharpen). Arriving with sharp tools that function well is the best way to save a lot of sweat and tears.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 Work Day Date Announced: OCTOBER 25

We've started planning the 2014 Work Day, which will once again take place at Riverfront Park. This years site will be immediately adjacent to the 2013 site (to the east of the 2013 site running toward Main Street, and to the south of the Main St park entry path).

A lot of good was done in a short time during the 2013 event. It was a very satisfying experience for all of us who volunteered.

Did last years volunteers really make a difference? Here's what Christian Marks, Ph.D., Floodplain Forest Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy had to say about the result:

"Awesome effort. It was an impressive job! I think it is the largest area that I have seen cleared of bittersweet anywhere in the watershed. Great job! With the vines cut the floodplain forest canopy in the park should be able to grow back well."

Please look for 2014 Work Day announcements in The Glastonbury Citizen, Glastonbury Life, and posted around town.

You can also ask to be added to our Glastonbury Bittersweet Battlers Newsletter which will share registration and other event information by sending a request to

Updates will be posted at this site as the event date approaches. Thanks in advance for your interest!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2014 Environmental Excellence Award Goes to GPIP!

Glastonbury Partners in Planting (GPIP) has been selected to receive the prestigious Environmental Excellence Award from the Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Glastonbury, in recognition of their participation in the outstanding effort and partnership to eradicate bittersweet in Glastonbury's Riverfront Park.
The award announcement letter goes on to say, "This award recognizes the GPIP Battling Invasives Group's efforts to save the trees and habitats of birds in Glastonbury, while educating the public about the invasive species of plants that are killing our native vegetation."

The Award will be presented at the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Audubon Society Center's Earth Fair, themed "In Celebration of Trees" at 12:00 PM on Saturday, April 26, 2014, at the Center located at 1361 Main St., Glastonbury, CT. Click here for more information on the event.

GPIP's Battling Invasives Group is sharing the award with the Town of Glastonbury and Greg Foran, Park Superintendent and Tree Warden, who also partnered on the Riverfront Park effort.

Most importantly the award represents the amazing work done by over 80 volunteers during the course of several work days at the Park, as well as strong community outreach efforts supported by local media including the Glastonbury Citizen, Glastonbury Life, and the Hartford Courant.

Since 1997, the Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Glastonbury has awarded the Environment Excellence Award to honor companies, groups and individuals in Glastonbury and surrounding communities who demonstrate responsibility and integrity towards the environment.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 2013 "Save A Tree" Work Day Successful!

On November 17th a group of 15 highly experienced "Gold Level" bittersweet battlers met at Riverfront Park (with Town approval) to cut vines along the river trail. The trail is south of the drainage swale (which is just south of the new boat house location) and runs along the river toward the water treatment facility behind Town Hall. It is a potentially beautiful trail, referred to by many as one of the hidden gems of Riverfront Park.

This was our first experiment with the newly created "Gold Level" designation, which indicates a participant has been vetted and approved to work on our more challenging bittersweet projects.

If you have strong experience with bittersweet eradication (participating in our 9/28/13 Work Day, for example) and are interested in joining the Gold Level team please drop an e-mail to briefly outlining your experience. Once approved you will be added to the Gold Level list and notified of Gold Level "Save A Tree" events.

First cut vine of the day was a 30+ year old specimen.
The view is slowly improving!
Evelyn versus the vines.

Where's Jan?
Lynn and Wayne work along the river.

Dick G. opens up the trail.

What's going on here??

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Congratulations to the over 74 intrepid bittersweet battling volunteers who worked today at Riverfront Park!

The results exceeded all expectations, with 100% completion of Areas 1 thru 10. Many non-invasive plants were revealed under the vine cover, struggling to survive. They will provide an excellent basis for the restoration of the understory.
In addition to the original work site, a number of battlers moved to the tree nursery and removed bittersweet from the rare native trees in the nursery that are awaiting replanting in different areas of town (for more information on the tree project CLICK HERE ).

Everyone enjoyed removing vines from the majestic trees and native plants in the work area, knowing they have saved them from a long slow death by bittersweet. It was also a real pleasure to hear the positive comments and appreciation expressed by people using the walking path adjacent to the site.
Above: Just one of the many Work Day debris piles.
The rings on many vines indicated over 30 years of growth.
We saw enough tree and habitat destruction to believe it!
The highest kudos and thanks to every volunteer, to the Parks and Recreation Department, and to Greg Foran and his crew who also worked hard today to carefully and sparingly treat the cut stumps of the vines. It was a great day!

Stay tuned for "GPIP Bittersweet Work Day: The Video."