Crow’s Nest: Volunteers make it happen
By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.
We held a small volunteer day here to clean up the kids’s play area along Pine Creek. Over the winter we had taken down some ash trees—dying from the introduced pest emerald ash borer—around the edges of the area, and our arborist contractor spotted a huge dead red oak in the woods that was also too close to the area to safely stay. So there was a lot of wood we’d moved out and brush we’d chipped, and now the ground was torn up. The Force of Nature volunteers regraded and seeded grass in the lawn area and cut back most (but purposefully not all) of the native perennials planted there.
(We leave some perennial stems standing, and save bundles of stems of the ones we do cut, to provide habitat for the native bees who nest in them. I credit Douglas Tallamy, who writes about this in his book Nature’s Best Hope, and the Xerces Society, for raising awareness about best management practices for protecting insects upon which wildlife depends.)
The group also spread hay on some muddy parts of the trail to the wire bridge, and cut invasive plants in the nearby woods, all to make the play area more welcoming to the people who will be using it this spring and summer. Thank you all!