Saturday, May 26, 2012

Conservation Corps Update: May 24th-26th

Post contributed by Conservation Corps, Youth Outdoors Crew 2:

We're getting towards the end of spring and all of the projects that go with it. We've spent months managing some of Saint Paul's nicest sites, like Crosby Farm Park and the Mississippi River bluffs, and continuing restoration efforts at sites like the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom and Hamline Avenue. Natural resource restoration and management efforts are based on the life cycle of plants. Accordingly, we've spent the spring managing invasive species before they begin to seed out, and planting native species in their place so they can become established over the summer.

Corps member, Katie, torching first year
garlin mustard at Crosby Farm Park

After planting thousands of trees and managing many acres of invasive species, we spent Wednesday doing a final sweep for second year garlic mustard plants and torching first year plants to protect a lot of native species at Crosby Farm Park. Torching is a technique we tested out a few weeks ago that worked really well. It kills the invasive species really effectively without disturbing the soil. The site was looking really good and our efforts are definitely paying off.

On Thursday, we worked with our youth crews to spread mulch over the Mounds Park overlook, where native trees and shrubs were recently planted by volunteer groups. The mulch helps keep soil moist and prevents invasive species from sprouting and out-competing the new natives. It was a rainy day, but the site looked great when we finished. We finished the day out by spiking burdock and clipping seed heads at Mounds Park.

Youth Outdoors crews spreading
mulch at Mounds overlook

As it gets warmer and the seasons change, we are starting to really see progress in our work.  Don’t forget to get out there and check it out for yourself!