Opportunity Details

Environment, Health & Wellness

Age Minimum (with Adult): 8+, Minimum Age:18+

Urban Forest Restoration at GROW

Do you have an interest in preserving our city’s natural spaces for future generations? Would you enjoy supporting a project that will directly impact thousands of school aged students this year? If so, look no further than GROW!
At GROW, we are building the city’s first permaculture park space. This means we are creating an urban farming space where woodlands are maximized, and food systems are integrated throughout the space we manage. It’s our goal to demonstrate sustainable urban food cultivation practices that maximize space, improve soils, and conserve resources such as water.
Our project site at Two Rivers Park covers almost 14 acres worth of the park, at the far northern edge. It contains open farmland, a lake (aquatic ecosystem), and two distinct “pocket forests.” Both of our forest parcels have been severely affected by invasive non-native plant species. These plants ultimately have a negative impact on the wildlife that depends on this system by outcompeting native flora for resources.
At GROW, we’ve taken on the ambitious task of eradicating these species and replanting native trees, shrubs, and perennials. Our partners in this work include the TN Invasive Plant Council, TN Environmental Council, and local native plant supplier GroWild. Together with these partners we host two large scale events each March; Weed Wrangle and 250K Tree Day. However, the system is in such dire condition that we must continue to work on this issue year-round. That’s where you come in!
Typical tasks:
  • Removing invasive plants using pruners, loppers, or other tools
  • Widen existing hiking trails by removing vegetation
  • Tagging significant native species flora for increased visibility during the reforestation process
  • Planting new trees, shrubs, or native perennials
  • Spreading wood chip mulch
  • Removing trash and other debris from the forest system
  • Installing educational signage
Special skills you might learn or get to practice:
  • Agroforestry and permaculture style farming techniques
  • Learning about various tools used for invasive plant control and Agroforestry
  • Identification of native plants and our top 3 invasive non-native plants: Bush Honeysuckle, Chinese Privet, and Euonymus vine
  • Companion planting and planting for the benefit of native pollinators
  • Trail blazing
  • History of the forest parcel as it relates to the McGavock/Harding family and the Two Rivers Mansion estate (which remains to this day the largest historical property in Nashville)
There is no running water or electricity at GROW. Volunteers should bring their own water bottles and charge their phones before arrival.
There is no shelter from severe weather at GROW. In the event of severe weather on a scheduled work day (lightning, impending severe thunderstorm, or tornado watch/advisory) this event will be cancelled.
Volunteers should wear protective clothing appropriate for outdoor work including: pants to protect legs, closed-toed shoes, breathable layered shirts for comfort in outdoor weather and protection from sun/brambles/stinging insects.
Ticks can be an issue in the forest system. We recommend taking any precautions you are comfortable with and, at minimum, selecting light colored clothing so that they can be more easily spotted before they bite.
Community Impact
ALL park visitors will benefit from increased access to sustainable food resources through the development of this public orchard. Also, the silvopasture ecosystem functions as an intensive ecology classroom for area students from April – October each year.  On behalf of all of the visitors, we want to thank you for giving of your time to create this unique “community classroom” to inspire a love of nature in the next generation!
Ecological Impact
The work we are doing has a direct impact on local wildlife by providing additional food and habitat resources. By removing invasive plant species, we make soil nutrients and sunlight available to native plants within the system. These are the plants that evolved with our native wildlife and are needed for their continued success in our fast-growing urban city.
Additionally, both forest systems contain an expanding grove of Pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba.) This native fruit tree is especially significant, as it is the only host plant for the TN state butterfly (Protographium Marcellus). By helping us to clear invasives away from the Pawpaws, you can ensure that this butterfly species thrives here in Nashville!
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