Most forms of life on Earth live within a balanced ecosystem and develop a specific equilibrium with their surroundings. However human intervention has disrupted much of the environment on this planet. Pollution, overpopulation and ignorance have dramatically decreased the biodiversity of species (SER). With the rapid decrease in biodiversity, ecosystems are endangered around the world. Due to urban development in Philadelphia specifically, invasive species were introduced to Fairmount Park (FPC). Invasive species threaten biodiversity because they grow aggressively and out-compete all other vegetation in the area (McDowell). In order to sustain the ecosystems of life on Earth, the protection of biodiversity is an essential endeavor. .
There are many groups around the world that are dealing with the protection of biodiversity. The Natural Lands Restoration and Environmental Education Program is an organization in Philadelphia that is dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of Fairmount Park's ecosystem (NLREEP). They receive hundreds on volunteers who devote their time and energy to repair the park for the sake of preserving the precious life that exists within it (BIOBLITZ). .
In order to protect the biodiversity of Fairmount Park, service-learning projects were created (Harper-Lore). The goal of the project was restore the ecological balance of Fairmount Park and return the area to its naturally beautiful state (VNPS). Particularly, our class searched extensively and removed specific invasive species that are harmful to the Fairmount Park forest area. To distinguish the invasive species from the native species, we carefully looked for plants for leaves with certain shapes and plants that had vines wrapped around branches of other plants. Vines from English ivy drain the moisture from plants and use the extra water and nutrients to out compete the native plants and ultimately replace the native plants in the forest (Wildberger).