Volunteers tackle invasive buckthorn on Chicago Bears campus
That's how John Bostrom, senior adviser of operations and safety for the Chicago Bears, describes buckthorn that lines the team's campus in Lake Forest.
In a partnership with the Lake County Forest Preserve, Bears employees and more than 40 volunteers began to remove the invasive buckthorn Friday from a third of an acre behind the Walter Payton Center. They were supposed to clear the vegetation weeks ago for Earth Day but were delayed due to bad weather.
More than 1.5 acres of buckthorn has been removed from the campus and Middlefork area, adjacent to Halas Hall.
Buckthorn deprives native plants of sunlight and stunts the growth of other organisms by releasing a chemical called emodin.
"We like the beautiful look of natural plants," Bostrom said. "Daily maintenance occurs regularly whether with our wetlands or grass. We have four beautiful natural grass playing fields that add to that effect."
During the three hours volunteers were clearing the buckthorn, Russ Sala was busy loading the back of his truck with cut bushes and trees, hauling away load after load.