As we begin the new year, Friends of the Blufflands looks forward to continuing to make progress on the remnant prairies and other conservation projects that have been undertaken. Much of the work has been accomplished with the help of an enthusiastic group of volunteers. On Zoerb Prairie alone, over 400 volunteer hours were donated in 2021! This, added to the work done by contractors, has accomplished a lot! This year, we hope volunteers will continue to lend a hand. Annual work plans are being developed. Here's a marked up photo of Zoerb Prairie that roughly outlines the plan for this prairie for the coming year:
The red circled area is the intact central prairie. We will continue to monitor this for woody plants such as buckthorn and honeysuckle as well as clonal species like black locust, sumac, and aspen and carefully remove them. Eventually we hope periodic fire will keep this area clear of these invasive plants. The blue area, which is called the first buffer, is an area into which a lot of effort has been spent clearing heavy brush and trees and where we are encouraging the prairie to expand. It still needs work cutting and treating as well as careful, selective foliar spraying to control the remaining smaller invasive plants. Much of this first buffer was seeded in the early winter with seeds collected in the fall from the intact prairie. The second buffer, circled in green, will be improved and expanded in certain areas with the goal being to keep berry producing invasive plants as far away from the central prairie as is feasible. Yellow circles are aspen trees that will need to be girdled in the spring. Last, we may decide to work on developing a savanna below the prairie down to Hickory Trail in the green hatched area. Lots of work and lots of fun, especially with volunteers helping!
So, please consider joining us again or for the first time as we continue the work to restore this and other prairies on the bluffs as well as doing other conservation work. The best way to become part of the volunteer crew is to contact us through this website (friendsoftheblufflands.org) with your email address. You will then be notified by email of upcoming work days.
Thanks for considering!