Revenge of the Loppers

An (Inside) Outsider’s Perspective on Strike Team

Visitor Engagement Administrative Assistant

A park’s work is never done, even in the winter. There are invasive species to cut, trees to plant, and in some cases, new parks to prepare for opening. To help with this, Metro Parks assembles the Strike Team, a rotating cast of characters from different parks, converging on a location to take some names, kick some butt, and get rid of that invasive honeysuckle once and for all. Usually the Strike Team is composed of Maintenance Technicians, Resource Management, and Park Technicians. For one day in February, however, the Strike Team was stuck with me, the Metro Parks’ equivalent of an indoor cat, with less agility and zero percent upper body strength but a can-do attitude and a willingness to learn. Joining me in first-time Strike Teaming was our Friends of Metro Parks Development Assistant, Melissa. To say we make a motley crew is an understatement.

Holly and Melissa – The Loppers!

The Strike Team met at Bank Run, our future park south of Columbus. There is so much growth happening at this park, it is exciting to be a part of it. It was also an exciting and historic day for my coworkers, who for the first time in my career at Metro Parks, got to see me wearing pants. I didn’t set out to only wear dresses at work, but after working from home during the pandemic, my extensive dress collection was begging to be worn in public. It wasn’t until my coworkers commented on my pants-less wardrobe that I decided to lean into it and never wear pants again, purely out of lighthearted spite, stubbornness, and the fact that dresses are just so much more comfortable.

We began the day by cutting invasive honeysuckle. Armed with loppers (a pruning tool that makes a satisfying lop sound), we cut back this ornamental shrub. It is important to remove this invasive plant because it grows quickly and densely, crowding out native species in the forest’s understory. After we chopped away at the honeysuckle, our Resource Management team followed with herbicide on what can only be described as a bright blue bingo marker on a stick.

We spent most of the morning working with the loppers, only stopping to investigate some cool rocks and even cooler mushrooms. Our next task was to plant some trees. Melissa and Park Tech Katie expertly dug the hole, while I was somehow trusted with a cutting wheel to cut the metal binding around the tree.

Melissa and the mushroom; Holly and the cutting wheel.

Bank Run is the site of a former YMCA camp and has some buildings on the property that we are updating to be used as reservable venues. We are in the process of updating the bathrooms now, so we got to do some demolition to the concrete walls. Armed with a sledgehammer and pent-up rage, Melissa and I took turns smashing through the wall and despite my lack of upper body strength, I managed to make some decent sized holes.

IF I HAD A HAMMER?!!! Holly makes holes!

We worked as a team to remove the chunks of concrete before calling it a day, and not a moment too soon because I desperately needed some Icy Hot.

I had an incredible time joining the Strike Team and can’t wait to do it again. It was a great way to get involved, awaken long dormant muscles, and meet other Metro Parks staff I wouldn’t necessarily get to meet otherwise. Plus any time I can be outside and smash stuff up is a good time in my book. It is nice to be back in a dress though.

Holly back in the office, and glad to be back in a dress.

3 thoughts on “Revenge of the Loppers

  1. Oh my gosh, please send Holly into the field more often! This article was hilarious and delightful!!!

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