Volunteers see Martin Luther King Jr. Day as day of service

Volunteers removed invasive species and cleaned up a Green Bay trail
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 5:46 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage Americans to volunteer to improve their community.

Green Bay’s West Side Trail is just one part of the community the Conservation Corps wants to improve. The Green Bay Conservation crew and community volunteers spent the morning chopping down an invasive species.

“It’s been invaded with an invasive buckthorn, which kind of just decreases the habitat as well as the aesthetics, and so we’re out here trying to improve this community trail and trying to honor Martin Luther King Jr. by improving the community like he did,” Green Bay Conservation Corps coordinator Maria Otto said.

The deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department, James Andersen, says this project will brighten up the community for everyone to enjoy and commemorate MLK’s legacy.

“Martin Luther King Jr. said darkness cannot shed out darkness. We’re trying to create light. Once spring comes and this light starts getting in areas that have been consumed with an invasive species, it will start sprouting up the native species and people will be able to enjoy those different plants,” Andersen said.

The Conservation Corps says while habitat conservation projects take some time to complete, it will make trails more functional for the community and wildlife.

“It’s a lot better for the trees and the forest and the community and all the animals that live in this area when the invasive species are removed and we can come out and make it look nice,” crew leader Francis Rosa said.

This is the first habitat restoration event to commemorate MLK Day the Conservation Corps organized. It’s planning more opportunities to restore the trails with native plants and create an enjoyable space for the community.