Crow’s Nest: Everything we build…

April 10, 2019

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

…will eventually need to be taken down. Or maintained.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Here Aubrey is digging out the concrete in which a split rail fence post was set almost 20 years ago, and replacing it with a fresh post. If you didn’t pay attention you wouldn’t know how much work it takes just to keep the place looking the same.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

The lesson we take from this is, don’t build more infrastructure than you can maintain. Because if it isn’t maintained, someone will be removing it someday. We’ve cut miles of barbed wire fencing out of the trees here at the preserve, left over from a time when areas that are now woods were once pasture. We’ve removed unused falling-down farm structures from corn cribs to sheds.

Here’s a concrete trough that was buried near our yard, rising just high enough out of the ground to threaten the mower blades when the area is occasionally cut back. Now that it’s gone the area will be planted with wildflowers.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Even when we “build” things in nature, that is, planting trees and shrubs, wildflowers and native grasses, there needs to be maintenance. Planting them is the fun part—but keeping vines off of the plantings and maintaining the conditions under which these plants will thrive—is just as necessary for the long term health of the natural community.