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Hallinan kids rip out tree invaders

Students support Hallinan Heights in removal of invasive ivy from campus

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Friends of Hallinan Heights Woods co-coordinator Barbara Fisher works with Hallinan students to remove ivy.Friends of Hallinan Heights Woods co-coordinator Barbara Fisher has been teaming up with a group of local volunteers to rip out ivy from the natural area in the neighborhood. But when Fisher laid eyes on the Hallinan Elementary campus, where the trees were choked with ivy, she decided to call in some more reinforcements.

Ivy destroys trees, not just by digging into the bark with tiny roots, but also by growing fat branches over the course of decades that weigh hundreds of pounds and can eventually drag down even a towering fir, Fisher explains.

During three lunch recesses this spring, fifth-grade teacher Rick Giest’s students helped Fisher tear down the creeping vines that were threatening trees on the Hallinan grounds.

Fisher says the students were incredibly helpful and she’d be open to working with them again. Meanwhile, she’ll continue to keep her own neighborhood trees free and clear of the clingy interloper.

“It’s up to us to take care of us, to take care of the natural areas and be involved,” she says.

— Jillian Daley