By JOSH TUDELA
Local residents are invited to participate in a community cleanup hosted by The Friends of Glen Stewart Ravine on Sunday, Oct. 29.
The annual Autumn Cleanup event will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., rain or shine, and participants are asked to meet at the Beech Avenue entrance to the ravine, just south of Kingston Road.
Participants are asked to bring their own bottle of water, gloves and boots, “dress to get dirty,” said The Friends of Glen Stewart Ravine.
The Friends of the ravine will be providing participants with trash bags, and also with treats from Prologue Café and Courage Foods.
The presence of invasive species Asian Jumping Worms (AJW) in the ravine means that participants will be encouraged to clean their shoes/boots before leaving the area. This is to prevent the spread of the worms. Clean up organizers are asking participants to be mindful of this at all times.
Asian Jumping Worms are a non-native invasive species of earthworms that are negatively affecting the environment in Canada. These jumping worms first made their way into North America in the late 1800s, most likely through horticultural trade and the importation of plants, mulch and compost. They can be accidentally transported very easily by their very small egg cocoons that can easily hitch a free ride on a hiker’s or gardener’s shoe.
In the United States, the jumping worms are damaging the ecosystems of entire forests. Many of the ornamental plants sold at nurseries and big box stores in Canada are cultivated in the U.S., meaning some exported plants could have worm cocoons in them.
The worms negatively affect the environments they invade in many ways. They outcompete other earthworms, their castings degrade the soil quality leaving it inhospitable to the native plants, and they will consume the top layer of organic material making it difficult for plants to remain rooted and allowing rain to wash away nutrients.
It is unknown how many of the jumping worms are in the ravine or how long they have been there as City of Toronto employees are the only ones with authority to dig in the ravine, The Friends of Glen Stewart Ravine told Beach Metro Community News.
“What I know is that small numbers of AJW have been found on properties adjacent to the Glen Stewart Ravine, as well as the Glen Davis Ravine and the Rosedale Ravine,” said a spokesperson for The Friends of Glen Stewart Ravine.
If local residents find themselves in the presence of a jumping worm, they are asked to kill and dispose of the worm immediately. The most humane method is using isopropyl alcohol which will euthanize the worms and kill them within seconds.
“Another effective method is to seal them in a clear plastic bag and leave them in direct sunlight,” said The Friends of Glen Stewart Ravine. “If you discover jumping worms in horticultural material such as soil, dispose of the contaminated material in a plastic bag, which can be left out in the sun or frozen to kill any jumping worms it may contain.”
For more information on Sunday’s clean up, please go the Friends of the Glen Stewart Ravine Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/friendsofglenstewartravine