'ReForesters' save trees from invasive species at Pennypack Trust

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "It doesn't take much to be able to help the earth," said Jorge Angles. "You can do a little bit by just volunteering, what you can do."

A 30-year resident of Montgomery County, Angles has spent countless hours soaking in the beauty of the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT). Now in retirement, he spends his time volunteering as a 'ReForester.'

"We volunteer to adopt a certain section of the trust," said Angles. "We clear the area of invasive species, make sure that the saplings get to grow."

The program was created by PERT during its 50th anniversary year in 2020.

"Since 1990, we've planted over 12,000 trees," said Maria Paula Mugnani, Research and Restoration Coordinator at PERT. and the ReForesters program came about in an effort to better care for these trees."

Specifically, the threat of invasive species can literally place a stranglehold on native plants. Volunteers like Angles will pull weeds and slice invasive plants at their roots. Then, they document their progress using a mobile application.

"When it comes to taking care of forests and trees. It's not something that happens overnight," said Kevin Roth, Education and Volunteer Coordinator at PERT. "Hopefully in 100 years they all grow up together, and we have a healthy forest."

The team of ReForesters has grown so large that applications are currently on hold. However, many other volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year at PERT, including Streamkeepers and Free-A-Tree, which is happening this Saturday. To learn more, visit their website.

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