March 13

In his March 2 Local Opinions commentary, “D.C.’s trees are in the fight of their lives,” Robert E. Hunter rightly identified English ivy as a threat to the District’s tree canopy. This invasive vine is smothering trees across the city, on private and public land alike. The spread of invasive species is not a new problem, but it is a growing one with economic and environmental consequences.

Rock Creek Conservancy has joined forces with the National Park Service, the D.C. Department of the Environment and several local conservation organizations to remove invasive plants throughout the District. Since 2012, Rock Creek Conservancy volunteers have removed English ivy from more than 4,400 trees in Rock Creek Park. Some sections have been virtually cleared, including the Melvin Hazen and Soapstone Valley parks. One of our partners, the Anacostia Watershed Society, has made significant gains around the Anacostia River and is engaging volunteers in its work to restore the ecology of the river. We want to free every tree in Rock Creek Park from English ivy and educate residents about how to identify and control the vine throughout the region.

We invite Mr. Hunter and concerned residents to join our campaign and volunteer with us. Consider removing English ivy from your property. Learn more about native alternatives from the Virginia Native Plant Society. This is a problem that we can solve, and Rock Creek Conservancy and its partners are determined to do so.

Alex Sanders, Bethesda

The writer is a program manager for Rock Creek Conservancy.