Mariton: Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

June 3, 2020

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

I am way behind on writing Field Notes.  I have lots to write about, but things have been really busy at Mariton.  We had a real spring for the first time in a decade or more (except for the lack of rainfall).  Because of the pandemic, I cancelled programs including the weekly bird walks.  That freed me up for more invasive plant work.  While the spring wildflowers benefitted from an actual spring, the garlic mustard also took advantage and seemed to surge in areas I thought we had subdued it.

Thank goodness for Mariton’s dedicated cadre of volunteers.  The stay at home orders came about half-way through our bi-monthly volunteer work mornings, so that program had to be cancelled.  Fortunately, several volunteers couldn’t help themselves, and continued to come out to cut vines on their own.  We would communicate by email.  We lost the social aspect of our gatherings, but volunteers told me that they still appreciated the feeling of accomplishment from liberating saplings from vines.

Photo by Mike Manes

One of countless piles of garlic mustard that volunteers pulled this spring. Photo by Mike Manes.

When the garlic mustard started popping up, several volunteers switched gears and asked for assignments on where to pull.  Again, we communicated by email, and they would show up to pull garlic mustard along trails throughout April and May.  I picked up the piles with the tractor and moved it to the compost heap.  With them focused on the trails, that allowed Barrett and me to work in hard to reach areas in the forest.  (Many of those areas were in loose rocky areas where the footing was tenuous, and there was usually poison ivy too).  So, even though I think more garlic mustard popped up this spring, I think we did a better job than ever of removing it.  In the end, I estimate I composted over 5 pick-up truck loads of garlic mustard.

Photo by Tim Burris

A pick-up truck load for scale.

Did I mention how great the wildflowers were this spring?  I found a large clump of Showy Orchis while pulling invasives that I know wasn’t there before.  I’ve never seen such a great display of False Solomon Seal.  The Perfoliated Bellwort is always special at Mariton, and this year it was amazing.  The wildflowers really loved the spring and lack of garlic mustard.

Photo by Maureen Burris

A family affair. The kids received community service credits, and Mom and Dad had fun. Photo by Maureen Burris.

Thank you to Gary & Clara, Bob & Eileen, Jim, Ellen, Josephine, Dorothy, Mike & Kieu, Liz, and Dave & Kate’s family.  Words can’t express my gratitude (I’m humbled).  The wildflowers and trees thank you too… (and all the visitors this spring that witnessed such an awesome display of wildflowers).