St. Francis parishioners joined with parishioners from Immaculate Conception Church in Durham and members of the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association for a couple of very productive hours of clean-up in the 17-acre Wood Preserve of Ellerbe Creek in Durham. The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association partners with the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative (UNCWI) to protect those lands most critical for the long-term safety and health of drinking water supplies in the communities located in the Upper Neuse River Basin. Ultimately, this watershed (and its trash and polluntant load) empties into Falls Lake which is the source for the drinking water of Raleigh.
Many of the participants in this clean-up helped clear a non-native and highly invasive shrub called Privet from a section of the 17-Acre Wood Preserve. Privet produces leaves early in the spring and then reduces light available for other herbaceous plants and trees. One of the goals of the ECWA is to bring back the rich native flora of the Ellerbe Creek valley, much of which survives only in remnants along roadways, in ditches, or here and there along the creek. Other participants collected trash along the creek bed and throughout the preserve.
Kate Meehan and Cynthie Kulstad, on staff with ECWA, continued to remark how this clean-up was one of their most successful clean-ups to record. Art Clark, a parishioner of St. Francis and member of the Care of Creation Ministry Group, helped organize this event.