We recently took advantage of a wonderful Fall day to catch up with Catherine Farmer on Belle Isle. She’s in charge of the Habitat Restoration Project there.

And she’s our newest ParkStar.

She started in the James River Park as a tree steward. Her plan was to identify different trees around the Park, tag them, and lead “Tree Tours” where people could learn about the different types of trees along the James River. As she began her exploration, she realized how many of the different plants and trees she saw really weren’t supposed to be there. They were invasive species. We wrote about this last January.

She started working on removing invasive species as a private project, and now routinely leads teams of volunteers who work with her to restore Belle Isle to its original state. She says one of the really neat things about this is that they often uncover walls and the remnants of old structures that nobody has seen for generations. They’re all relics of the many uses of Belle Isle over the years.

She also offered some advice for the rest of us: We all USE the James River Park. But we should always endeavor to leave it better than we entered it – pick up some trash. Do some good.

It’s good to love the Park. It’s great to care for it.