On the many trails that wind through Columbia, Adopt-A-Trail is not your usual litter control or cleanup volunteer program, and John Mier is not your typical volunteer. He is a heavyweight champion in the battle to takedown the invasive, non-native, bush honeysuckle that has overgrown our forests and trails.
Initially Adopt-A-Trail volunteers participate in training to learn proper tree care, trail maintenance, and the identification of invasive species in Missouri, and how to remove them. They are then assigned a quarter-mile section of trail in the city to care for. Since 2017 John has logged over 91 hours of hard work and sweat, but he doesn’t mind because he says it’s a great way to relieve stress. He jokingly calls the honeysuckle removal “bushwhacking,” but the results are obvious. The trail opens up and looks much nicer, and clearing the honeysuckle allows for native plants to begin to grow back.
“It’s all about helping,” John says. He’s been volunteering in some capacity for decades. “You meet new people, learn new things, and in most roles, you know you are helping.” John also spends time volunteering at the St. Louis Zoo.
Thanks John for your energy, fortitude, and desire to help. If you also like helping and want to learn more about volunteering for the City’s Adopt-A-Trail program, please contact email@example.com or call 573-874-7499.
Written by volunteer Bob Murphy.