*By “last”, I really mean the last one of the summer, if you think that summer ends when school starts (I prefer to think that summer extends at least a little bit into September). We’ll probably have at least one more day out in September and may even have a day or two more in the fall. Also, we’re having a volunteer appreciation nature walk this week, which will be fun.
Anyway, I joined a small team of other people to help with winding up barbed wire (which is dangerous for wildlife – something I explained in my last post) at the EALT‘s Glory Hills site. It’s a beautiful site, but so, so, so overridden with tansy and Canadian thistle, which are invasive species that EALT is (slowly) trying to get rid of. Where possible, EALT tries to use the slow process of cutting back weeds each year to get rid of them. The theory is that if we make it hard for them to thrive and spread (example: by cutting off the flower heads so that seeds can’t spread), the weeds won’t thrive and the native species will find it easier to take over. At another site, this has meant that we cut and bagged flower heads, and then pulled the plants out (as much as possible – though sometimes we had to admit defeat and just cut them as close to the ground as possible). In other cases, we’ve had someone with a weed whacker mowing down large stands of the weeds. Both these help, because the plants don’t have enough time to recover and seed before the end of the season. So, if nothing else, they don’t spread as much. It’s a small victory, but it’s safer for the plant and animal species in the area.
Glory Hills is, as I said, suffering with a few too many weeds. Because of this, spot pesticide spraying was done (this means that they targeted the weeds and tried to avoid other plants). So, there are some pesticides in the area, but the whole property wasn’t inundated with pesticides (as is often the case in commercial spaces). It’s unfortunate to have to use pesticides, but sometimes it’s the only way to get a handle on an invasive species problem, especially when resources (staff and volunteers) are limited. And, in the grand scheme of things, it should help (the tansy was already looking pretty sickly) and it was only a small portion of the whole property (very small).
The rest of the property is thriving and the whole property is full of life: plants and wildlife abound. EALT has some infra-red sensor cameras on the property (funded by the ACA), which have already taken pictures of a few deer (including fawns) and which might have some new gems (we swapped the cards this weekend, and one had a lot of pictures on it … hopefully not just blurry night time pictures or more deer butts). And, I took my camera with me to catch a few pictures of all the lovely plants and bugs and such.