Yes, there is such a group — and it’s every bit as serious and sophisticated as any Ivy League school you can name! Founded in 1994 in Portland, Oregon, the No Ivy League is out to rescue native landscapes from English ivy and other invasive exotic plants. Ivy damages the trees that it uses to climb to the canopy by strangling them, accelerating rot, and often causing them to fall during storms. Dense vines deprive the trees’ bark from normal contact with the air and compete with the tree for nutrients, water, and sunlight.
Sewanee has its own version of the No Ivy League, although the members have yet to join up formally. We’re more of a “No Ivy Collective” — or maybe an “Underground Movement,” a small army of individuals working quietly but with determination to clear invasives from our landscapes. Look around: the University grounds crew is definitely in on the battle. Wherever you see severed ivy vines on the main campus, those fellows have done the work. Joining the fray, the ATO fraternity has cut monster ivy vines around the historic ATO Spring. Leaseholders are getting involved, as well. Want to join up to release your trees from bondage? The Tree Stewards extend helpful advice here. Help us take back our landscapes from these aggressive invaders.