Work in Hillside Woods

Residents of all ages are pulling invasive plants, collecting data, and replanting trees. Join us!

Join our email list or Sign up for an upcoming work session

No experience necessary - we train! Got other talents to contribute? Let us know!

For additional volunteer work opportunities that are not in Hillside Woods, see Restoration Hastings

Volunteers digging up a privet bush in The Meadow

Join a Work Crew - click to sign up

Bring a shovel and work gloves (or borrow from us) and join our effort to remove rampant privet, jetbead, honeysuckle, Japanese barberry and other disruptive plants, as well as plant new ones. Sessions are generally two hours, good exercise—and fun! Students can earn community service hours.

Please wear a mask and tough clothing - we do encounter thorns.

Barberry has colonized the entire understory in this Lewisboro preserve

Japanese barberry has gained a foothold in Hillside Woods, and unless it is removed, we may suffer the same fate as some neighboring preserves (see left). Volunteers have surveyed and recorded this invasive shrub in many locations. Join a squad to remove it (by digging it out, shrub by shrub) or if you're trained, you can contact us for an independent assignment.

The white paint on trees is part of the tree survey

Volunteers marked and surveyed Norway maple and ailanthus trees in the summer of 2020. Some will be felled by commercial tree companies, smaller ones will be felled by Parks & Rec, and some will be girdled to become "snags" – standing dead trees that provide habitat for birds and insects. Norway maples and ailanthus deteriorate Hillside's ecosystem. Read more about why.

A volunteer planting some stiff-leaf goldenrod

Planting Trees and Flowers

To date we've planted over 100 donated tree seedlings and a handful of wildflowers and shrubs. Plantings will begin in earnest once fencing is erected. You're invited to help!

See our progress page for details on where trees have been planted and what kind, or view our data table in EpiCollect5. We will be planting more going forward.

Members of the 6th Grade Service Club lopping in the Burke Estate, 2020

Working with Hastings Schools

We've engaged students from 4th grade through college on our projects. Students have participated in invasive plant removals, tree plantings, species surveys and communications.

This spring (2021), students from each of the three schools will be planting 175 trees and shrubs.

The Hastings Vine Squad removes invasive vines from public trees throughout Hastings, including in Hillside Woods, from November to March. Visit the Hastings Conservation Commission's Vine Squad page for more info and schedule. The Vine Squad supplies equipment and training.

For more information on any of these projects, email Visit our Volunteer Resources Page for more. You can sign up for a session at any time. No experience necessary: we train!

We also invite community members with writing expertise, an inclination to photograph or a penchant for social media to help us with communications. Students can design internships and conduct research. Community service hour credits available for all activities.