GENESEO – After drinking a tall cup of coffee volunteer Paul Schill was ready to walk the trails of the Indian Fort Nature Preserve with Land Steward Lina Clifford to help clean up and pick up debris in the area.

“We are just going to take a walk around the trails and pick up any sticks or branches that might have fallen from the storm,” said Clifford.

Powerful storms on Tuesday night knocked down trees and power lines across some parts of Livingston County. No injuries were reported but the high winds left a mess behind for people to clean up.

“We are slowly picking up things after that,” said Clifford.

The Indian Fort Nature Preserve off Jones Bridge Road is protected by the Genesee Valley Conservancy. Their mission is to conserve important natural resources and strengthen connections between people and the land in the Genesee River watershed.

“I just like it and I want other people to enjoy it,” said Schill.

To help make preserve and the trails more enjoyable for people, they were also working to remove an invasive species plant called “Multiflora Rose.” The plant is a thorny perennial shrub with arching stems or canes. It grows to be 6 to 10 feet tall and can reach 15 feet. Its leaves have 2-inch long leaflets that are oval and toothed.

The plant, a non-native shrub, considered an invasive weed because of its aggressive growth habit that interferes with native plants.

“We are just trying to make everything nice for hikers, but also working on the invasive species removal to make sure that the habitat is good here,” said Clifford.

With tools in hand, the volunteers cut down one plant at a time, helping make the area better for not only the other plants but also the people who visit the preserve.

“We want people to be motivated to go outside and enjoy being outside. If they do not have a good experience they might think this is not for me but if they have a nice experience on our trails they will keep coming back,” said Clifford.

To make sure people keep coming back Clifford says they are always looking for volunteers to help clean up their preserves. Workshops are held on the first and third Friday of every month.

They say no special skills are needs only a love for the area and a desire to help protect the land.

“I like this area and I want people to get out and enjoy it. I think during the pandemic a lot more people came out and were looking for outdoor experiences, so that makes me feel good,” said Schill.

Anyone interested in helping out can contact Clifford at steward@geneseevalleyconservancy.org.

Voluntter Paul Schill and Genesee Valley Conservancy Land Steward Lina Clifford hoped their small effort on Friday cleaning up the Indian Fort Nature Preserve in Genesee would make some big changes to help make the preserve off Jones Bridge Road a better place for people to visit.

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