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Irmarís Rivera-Llavona

Irmarís Rivera-Llavona


EcoExploratorio: Museo de Ciencias de Puerto Rico
Berwyn Heights, Maryland

Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) Fellowship

Irmarís Rivera-Llavona is a geoscientist from Puerto Rico and is Operations Coordinator at EcoExploratorio: Science Museum of Puerto Rico. She holds a BA in Geology from University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Irmarís has also worked as a Drinking Water Hygiene Specialist at the Puerto Rico Department of Health.

Community Partner

Berwyn Heights is approximately one square mile and is home to 3,100 residents living in 1,050 single-family homes on the hillsides of the Indian Creek Valley in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Berwyn Heights uses the strengths of community science to find solutions to addressing climate change and preserving our tree canopy. Berwyn Heights is a certified Tree City USA community and has a long history of tree protection.

The town recognizes that shade trees can improve quality of life, absorb stormwater, reduce summer temperatures to help save energy, and provide many other benefits.

Project Description

Bringing together local government representatives and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, this project focused on improving long-term forest canopy health, sustainability, and aesthetics.

By removing invasive vines, the project team expects the young trees and branches that were previously covered by vines will recover and grow more leaves, which encourages tree growth, improved vigor, and long-term carbon storage. By also assessing regeneration and promoting new tree planting, the team aimed to recruit new trees into the canopy of the future, where they will replace older trees as they progressively age, lose branches, and ultimately die.

Volunteers conducted surveys mapping the extent of damage by invasive vines in the community and took part in an ivy removal demonstration for residents. The project also included data collection on regeneration of young trees as well as volunteer removal of ivy and other invasive vines.