By Frances Foster, Contributor

This year the Charlotte Land Trust Board lost two valuable members who both died unexpectedly. David Watts had been a board member for over seven years and passed away suddenly in January. Marty Illick and her husband, Terry Dinnan, were killed in a tragic boating accident on Lewis Creek in April. Marty had served on the board for over 20 years.

Charlotte Land Trust Board. Front: Steve Schubart , left to right: Jay Strausser, David Pill, Lindsay Longe, Jessie Price, Kate Lampton, Frances Foster, Mary Volk. Missing from photo: Jane Lawlis. Photo contributed

Charlotte Land Trust Board. Front: Steve Schubart , left to right: Jay Strausser, David Pill, Lindsay Longe, Jessie Price, Kate Lampton, Frances Foster, Mary Volk. Missing from photo: Jane Lawlis. Photo contributed.

How does a small board deal with such a blow? We decided to honor each of these amazing board members separately. A future event is being planned in Marty’s memory. On Sunday, May 16, the board gathered to pull invasives and remember David. This volunteer work felt just right to honor him as he had long recognized the impacts of invasive species and had conducted his own 40-year battle against them. He despaired of the ever-increasing buckthorn and honeysuckle encroachment on much of Charlotte’s conserved land.

Local invasive warrior Sue Smith helped us organize a work morning to pull honeysuckle and buckthorn from a beautiful section of the Charlotte Park and Refuge. This lovely birch forest has been overrun by the aforementioned invasives, and fortunately, the forest still had damp soil and most of the “bad guys” were easy to yank out. We did have occasion to use the rugged “buckthorn extractor” that is available to borrow from the Charlotte library. Let me just say that tool is impressive! We cleared about one quarter of the forest, and we hope that more groups will step up to continue the work in these beautiful woods.

Seventeen people showed up to pull invasives and help the Land Trust Board remember and honor David. We shared oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at the end of our work, which David’s wife Lynne said were his favorite. Everyone left the event feeling a shared love for David and satisfaction for a morning well spent.