Behind the iconic Crim Dell bridge, the Crim Dell pond is being overrun by invasive plants, deteriorating the area. A faculty member and a group of ready and willing students, however, are working toward revitalizing that environment and restoring it to its original beauty.
Initially, the Crim Dell Restoration Project began as “No Ivy Day” in 2010, in order to remove English ivy, one of the invasive plant species. However, it did not pick up momentum until the fall of 2014, when Linda Morse, a senior lecturer in the geology department, teamed up with the Office of Community Engagement and the Bird Club to make the project a part of Make a Difference Day.
The following spring, the project developed its own subcommittee within the Student Environmental Action Coalition (also known as SEAC), officially becoming the Crim Dell Restoration Committee. So far, the committee as a whole has logged more than 200 volunteer hours and removed more than 300 bamboo stalks as well as large amounts of invasive English ivy, wisteria and honeysuckle, replacing them with about 100 native plants.
The project’s most recent and second Green Fee grant totaled $11,497 and is projected to go toward continuing invasive plant removal, planting native plants, improving the trails, installing educational and informational signs and putting in place a rock garden with rocks found all across Virginia. Now, however, the group is beginning to shift toward focusing on the aesthetics and accessibility of the area.
Over the years, involvement in the project has grown significantly from just a few members unofficially meeting to brainstorm ideas to now a large regular group of students from freshmen to seniors making significant progress.
In the future, the Crim Dell Restoration Committee is hoping to team up with Health Outreach Peer Educators (HOPE) and the Parks Prescription Program to transform the Crim Dell into a mental health space.
Ultimately, the hope for the project is to revitalize the life that the Crim Dell used to hold, transforming it back into the charming landmark that reflects the beauty of the environment and brings a pulse back to the nature that is at the geographical heart of W&M, organizers said.