B.W. Wells Stewardship Fund
Latta Park, Charlotte
Dismayed by the decline of natural areas in Latta Park, a 32-acre urban park in Charlotte that had become choked with exotic invasives, Ruth Ann Grissom and Nancy Nicholson from the Dilworth Community Association sprung into action. They organized volunteers to rip out ligustrum, wisteria, and English ivy while looking for funds to purchase native plants. A grant from the B.W. Wells Stewardship Fund in 2016 was instrumental in propelling the project forward, enabling the group to begin planting native trees and shrubs along the stream that runs the length of the park.
With help from some 80 volunteers, local scout troops, businesses, and churches, they have removed tons of invasive species from the park and planted hundreds of native species in their place, creating a rich woodland, from the herbaceous understory to the woody shrubs and trees. The beneficial effects of this five-year project extend not only to wildlife, but also to the community at large. Partnering with the county’s Park and Recreation department, the group inspired the Board of County Commissioners to budget $200,000 towards invasive removal in county nature preserves in 2018, an amount that increased to $743,00 in the commissioners’ 2022 budget.