Friday, October 11, 2013

These leaves, they are a'changin...

Post contributed by David from Conservation Corps Youth Outdoors Crew 2:

Crews hard at work.
This week, crews began donning sweaters as the fall chill sets in. Work continues with the Young Adult and Youth Outdoors Crews. Along with help from a crew from Iowa, we have returned to the Phalen Golf Course water hazards this week to supplement plants that may not have made it through the dry summer. The hot dry conditions, along with a large number of geese, had really taken their toll on the new plants. Although we installed fences to keep the geese from mucking up our projects, some mallards still come and go. At one of the ponds, there are at least two flocks of ducklings that we watched grow all summer. Now they are losing their fuzzy gray plumage to make way for bright green heads and brown spots. Soon these families will join others for their migration south.

Did you know that Saint Paul is an Urban Bird Treaty City?  In partnership with Minneapolis and Audubon Minnesota, the City of Saint Paul works to create and improve bird habitat, and increase awereness of the importance of migratory birds.

Other birds are also gathering to make the winter journey, including the flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers who swarmed Crosby Farm Regional Park this spring. They, like the young mallards, have also donned new fall colors. If you make your way to Crosby to catch a glimpse of the Warblers, you should also check out the new berm and drainage basin. This area will act like a rain garden, filtering the water run off from the parking lot before it reaches the river. 
Young plants at Phalen Golf Course.

In other news, we continue to fight the burdock at Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. By cutting it all down, we hope to prevent the plants from dropping seeds and starting new growth all over again next year.  Also, we are sweeping the south edge of Como Lake to remove invasive plant species and volunteer trees that interfere with the shoreline prairie restoration. Volunteer trees are those that are seeded by the already existing trees in the area.