This volunteer crew removed invasives and planted new trees, shrubs and grasses along the Sperryville River Walk.

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The Sperryville Community Alliance and the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP) would like to thank the incredible volunteers who joined the Saturday, October 16, cleanup to remove invasive plants and plant native plants along the Sperryville River Walk, which follows the Thornton River from the Before and After Cafe to Pen Druid Brewery.

Fortified by coffee and snacks and informed about a new initiative, “Homegrown National Park,” some 20 volunteers joined the effort. The initiative, coined by ecologist Doug Tallamy, urges homeowners, property owners, land managers and anyone with some soil to plant in to remove invasives and plant natives to regenerate biodiversity and save our ecosystems and then record their progress on an interactive Homegrown National Park Map (see

It was a perfect fall morning to work hard and have fun, and the volunteers proved sturdy and dedicated to getting the job done. Over an intense three hour period, they planted over 10 trees, 20 shrubs and more than 100 grasses and flowering natives along five designated sections of the trail. Their job was made easier by the work of RLEP Board Member Torney Van Acker who did significant clearing of the five sites in advance. Hill House Farm & Nursery furnished the trees, shrubs and plants. When all was complete, volunteers took home free plants as a reward for their labors. 

There's much more to do, but that's for another day. In the meantime, our volunteers created an amazing start to what will one day be a living, breathing example of our own Homegrown National Park along the Sperryville River Walk and the Thornton River.

We urge our Rappahannock neighbors to check out this national campaign "to bring nature home" to your own back (or front) yard and get on the MAP!! (

Kerry Sutten

Sperryville Community Alliance

Clare Lindsay

Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection


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