Western Wildlife Corridor Preserves – What progress have we made?
Article and pictures by Tim Sisson
Stewardship can be defined as “caring for those things which are the responsibility of the steward. He/she keeps them in top form”. With respect to property, Stewardship can be defined as “voluntary, active care and sustainable use of private lands”.
Both of these definitions very much define the stewardship activities of Western Wildlife Corridor. We take our responsibilities for properties in “our” corridor seriously - Stewardship is not just an 11 letter word for Western Wildlife Corridor – it’s a way of life. This past year we made great progress through our stewardship projects at several preserves.
Sometimes the biggest threat to our preserves is invasion by alien plant species. Plants such as Amur (or Bush) Honeysuckle, Winter Creeper and Garlic Mustard can produce such a dense cover of foliage that native plants cannot survive. We’ve been told that Amur Honeysuckle even secretes a toxin that kills other plants!
After several Saturday mornings of hard work, we now declare that our Addyston preserve has been completely cleared of Amur Honeysuckle! Here’s a picture from one of those Saturday mornings that shows a volunteer instructing her daughter in the finer points of honeysuckle removal.
Once the invasive aliens are removed, the native plants usually reestablish healthy populations. This picture shows Jack-in-the-Pulpits that rebounded vigorously after the honeysuckle were removed. If the native plant population is too far gone, we will replant as necessary to give a helping hand.
Sometimes litter is a problem, especially if the property has frontage on a road or on a backyard of party animals. At Delshire litter has a way of appearing on a regular basis. Here we show bags of trash being sorted plus a bigger item (a lawnmower base) that won’t fit in a bag.
At Delshire we have spent many mornings removing honeysuckle too, and we have made real progress. Not only has the upper more level portion been completely cleared, but we have cleared a substantial part of the lower section.
At Delshire we have one of the most vigorous populations of Virginia Bluebells in the county. They have rebounded enthusiastically since the honeysuckle was removed. The hillsides there are now literally covered in a carpet of bluebells in April.
Delshire is also a great example of the benefit of our preserves to the community. Several of our Delshire neighbors have commented to us that it is a beautiful place to walk, or just to enjoy from their own backyards.
Beekley Property/Storey Woods
Here we have established a unique partnership with Mrs. Beekley and with Delhi Parks and Recreation Department, whereby Western Wildlife Corridor is helping to steward the properties so that native plants can return. We are in the process of clearing invasive alien plants (primarily Amur Honeysuckle and Winter Creeper) in an area extending across both properties near one of the Storey Woods trails. We are confident that native plants, (such as larkspur, shown at the right on Mrs. Beekley’s property) will come back, giving people on the trail a more enjoyable hiking experience. In addition the results of this project will be educational, allowing everyone to see the striking difference between natural areas and adjacent areas covered with alien plants.
We have never worked harder on our land protection mission than we have this year. We’re sure you will agree that we have made great progress in establishing beautiful preserves where native plants and animals can thrive; preserves that are a real asset to the community.
the Word Out
Using the grant awarded last year by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, we have begun conducting local research to determine how we can better communicate our mission and values to a broader audience. We are working with a writer and graphic designer who will use information gleaned from the research to help create a standardized set of materials for the WWC. We will begin using these materials at local events this summer, to spread the word about who we are and what we do as a Land Trust Organization. We will be looking for volunteers to staff our booth at many of these events and help out with other tasks, if you are interested, please call Leesa Miller 941-1628.
Flower a thon
April 29, 2006
Grab your field guide, and get ready for
Second Annual Flower-a-thon – Sure to be
even better than last year!
Flower-A-Thon will be a great chance for you to explore the Western Wildlife Corridor in Western Hamilton County in a fun-filled day looking for wild flowers while raising valuable funds to protect our beautiful forested hillsides.
is a Flower-A-Thon?
Flower-A-Thon is a fundraiser, similar to a Walk- or Bird-a-thon where individuals
or teams of individuals count the total number of wild flowers seen in a day.
Each counter solicits pledges from friends, relatives, neighbors, businesses or
corporations for each wild flower species found during that day.
Sketch by Sally Anderson
and Charlie Harper Print
All Flower-A-Thon team members will receive valuable prizes, including a 2006 Flower-a-thon T-shirt. Teams also have a chance to win the coveted Golden Trillium Award for the most species of wildflowers identified. Team members who collect pledges that total at least $150 will have a chance at winning a Charlie Harper or Sally Anderson print.
Provided for Participants
Breakfast will be provided 7-9AM thanks to Hamilton County Park District. WWC will provide a lasagna dinner for participants at our awards banquet that evening at EarthConnection.
do I get involved?
You can participate by becoming a counter on your own, joining a team, sponsoring a team, or all three! To register as a counter, as a team or to sponsor a team, use the Registration form in this newsletter. If you would like to donate items for the raffle, contact Rebecca Sisson at (859) 746-8671 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
23 - Tune-Up
Hike in a magnificent forest in the Bender Road area of Delhi that WWC
and the Hamilton County Park District helped to protect.
See the profusion of wildflowers that carpet the forest floor every spring.
For those of you participating in our Flower-a-thon, this will be a good “tune
up” hike. If not, the hike will be a good physical “tune-up”, as it is moderately
strenuous. Light refreshments will
be provided. Call Tim Sisson at 922-2104
to find out where we’re meeting.
May 20 - Restoration of Sister’s Hill properties. We plan to clear Amur honeysuckle and litter from an area we own adjacent to the old road. In the future this will showcase WWC to the many hikers who walk here. Call Bruce Cortwright at 451-5549 to find out where and when we’re meeting.
June 6 - Bring-a-Friend Member Picnic at the Veid’s. Food will be provided. Arrive any time after 5:30 PM and dinner will be around 6:30 PM. A short hike into our Delshire Preserve is planned. Contact Bob Nienaber 251-5352 for information.
10 - Restoration
of our Delshire Preserve. We plan to continue clearing Amur honeysuckle
and Garlic Mustard from the lower portion of this preserve. Restoration of the
upper portion has been completed and it is now a true “Floral Paradise”. Help
us as we work to restore the lower portion to the same splendor. Call Bob Nienaber
at 251-5352 to find out where and when we’re meeting.
- Great Outdoor Weekend at Storey Woods.
WHOOO’S WATCHING WHOOO???
It’s a new moon and a great time to journey through the trails at Story Woods to explore the nighttime wonders. The evening will begin with refreshments and snacks. Western Wildlife Corridor will give us a brief overview of land conservation and its value in providing a natural habitat for a wide variety of plants and animal species. Our journey through the woods will be lead by William Reichling, from R & R Animal Tracking as we search for clues of wildlife. Call Leesa Miller at 941 1628 for more information and to volunteer.
WWC Volunteer Opportunities
Call Tim Sisson for information - 922-2104.
*Work to eradicate invasive plants to help restore natural areas.
*Help with public events and mailings.
*High school students can earn their school service hours at WWC Restoration Projects.
*Name your talent-we'll find a place for it!
Many Thanks to outgoing Board Members, Dee Sizler, SC and Tom Morin for their valuable service; and to incoming members Joan Gillespie and Susan Frede and John Klein for volunteering to serve.