Have you driven past Carolin’s Grove recently and noticed the work we have done to clear out some of treefall from Hurricane Sandy? Well, it’s time to stop in and take a few minutes to see the change. With funding from the family of the original donors of this Preserve and support from the Land Trust Alliance, we hired a tree crew, Emerald Organic, to remove dead and downed trees that prevented us from accessing the area for management of invasive species and native plant protection. This part of the forest is now safe for visitors to explore.
While there are large gaps among the towering spruce trees in the Grove, there are also many young saplings, some already above the height of deer browse. We aim to influence the regeneration of this forest to include a mix of deciduous trees and conifers, with berry and nut producing shrubs in the understory to support birds and other wildlife. This month and next, volunteers and students including the entire third grade at Pound Ridge Elementary School will help to plant in the largest forest gaps. More volunteers are always welcome, including those who can stop by and water during dry periods in summer.
We have White pine, Pitch pine, Eastern red cedar, American hazelnut and Northern bayberry saplings to plant, some of which were donated by the New York State School Seedling Program. We are also going to plant wildflowers that are important for pollinating insects, such as Grey goldenrod, Milkweed, and Wild bergamot, grown in our own native plant nursery at the Armstrong Preserve and Education Center. Please see this blog post for more information on the PRLC Prop Lab.
Five new student volunteers stayed warm by working hard at our first Saturday Volunteer Work Session of the year last week at the Clark Preserve. We worked together to clear Japanese barberry and other invasive plant species from an area near the entrance to the preserve, on Autumn Ridge Road in Pound Ridge. The students were able to draw connections between what they saw and learned about in the forest, and what they have in their yards at home. They asked important questions: “how did invasive species get here?” (They were brought in by nurseries for sale as landscaping plants, in many cases.) And, the kids want to know what is edible, trying out garlic mustard and onion grass and black birch. We talked about making syrup from Sugar maples, and how you can know you are looking at a maple even at this time of year (by the buds and pattern of branching). Curiosity flows freely in the outdoors.
We are grateful for the assistance of volunteers in maintaining the health of this seventy acre forest, and we look forward to spending more time out on the land this season. Join for our next Saturday Volunteer Work Session on April 1 at Richard’s Preserve on Honey Hollow Road, 10am to noon. We will be making improvements to the entrance to the preserve including installation of a water bar to direct road runoff out of the trail. Please bring a shovel if you have one, and wear long sleeves and pants for protection from thorns.