Davidson, NC On Wednesday, April 19th, Davidson Lands Conservancy (DLC) welcomed 15 volunteers from Williams to Fisher Farm Park for an intense day of invasive plant removal. The volunteers, including DLC Board member Gordon Clark, and volunteer leader Andy Kane, spent the day working on removing invasive plants from a large swath of mature forest. The event was possible because of support from Williams and contributing efforts by the Town of Davidson Public Works, a key DLC partner. 

The project was one of 120 that took place across 19 states during Williams Volunteer Week this April. Williams is an energy infrastructure company that provides one third of the nation’s natural gas used every day to generate electricity and power in America. From the Gulf Coast to the Northeast and all the way to the Pacific Northwest, more than 1,100 Williams employees fanned out in communities where they live and work to lend a hand on projects that mattered most to them. 

Fisher Farm Park covers 200 acres and is owned by the Town of Davidson. Mecklenburg County holds a conservation easement on Fisher Farm and Davidson Lands Conservancy stewards the conservation easement and the Park.  

This effort is part of the Wildlife Enhancement Collaborative, a collective of talented scientists and conservationists working to improve the wildlife features of Fisher Farm and the adjacent Abersham Park.  The total land area involved is 545 acres.  The Collaborative, led by DLC, includes talent from Davidson College, Town of Davidson, Mecklenburg County Park and Rec, and the NC Wildlife Resources commission.  

The biodiversity and habitat at Fisher Farm face threat from invasive plants such as Japanese Privet, Autumn Olive, Honeysuckle, and Multiflora Rose. These plants have the ability to outcompete natives and inhibit the growth of native forest trees including red and white oak, hickory, and tulip poplar. Due to the ability of invasive plants to reproduce quickly and because of the absence of natural predators, invasive plants spread rapidly and completely to create a monoculture. This runs counter to nature’s need for diversity to support the specific interconnections and web of plants, insects and animals. 

“Williams enjoyed partnering with Davidson Lands Conservancy (DLC) and the Town of Davidson during our 2023 Volunteer Week project completing invasive plant removal and picnic table rebuilds at Fisher Farm Park,” said Chad Dlugoszewski, the Williams employee who headed up the project. “Our efforts will allow native plants and wildlife to thrive, as well as provide space for all to enjoy the park. Dave and Lauren with DLC have been great to work with throughout the planning and execution of this project, as well as during the 2022 Run for Green 5k/10k/half-marathon that Williams sponsored. The DLC does great work in our community for the environment, and we hope our partnership can continue.” 

“The Conservancy is deeply grateful to Williams for the Company’s strong and generous financial and volunteer support,” said Dave Cable, DLC Executive Director.  Gordon Clark, DLC Board member and group leader, added “This was probably the most productive workday in the Conservancy’s history.” 

The Company’s volunteers brought experience and energy to the effort, allowing the group to cover a substantial area of the forest in just one day. The impact of removing invasive plants from this area will be significant for the park’s wildlife and tree growth moving forward and will foster a more balanced ecosystem. In addition to removing the invasive plants, the Williams volunteers also replaced several picnic table tops and seats in the park. 

DLC is committed to the preservation and protection of natural areas in Davidson and relies on the support of volunteers to accomplish our mission. If you are interested in volunteering and learning more about projects like these, click here for more details.

About Davidson Lands Conservancy: 

The Davidson Lands Conservancy is a non-profit organization that works to preserve and protect natural areas in Davidson through its four conservation pillars: urban forestry, land conservation, greenways and trails, and wildlife habitat.  

Since its founding in 2000, the DLC has protected over 500 acres of land in Davidson and helped to establish over 10 miles of walking and biking trails. DLC advances its mission through education and through the four conservation pillars. Visit us here to learn more.