The seasons progress slowly giving us time to appreciate the changes as they unfold. I like to watch the tips of the oak branches as their buds open and flowers emerge.
Spring is a great opportunity to use fire to control invasive plants and it has been a long time since the Scuppernong Springs Nature Preserve has had a prescribed burn. Buckthorn seedlings are thick in many places, especially the slope along the trail below Hwy 67 on the left side of the video below.
The alternative to fire is repeated brush cutting and poison application, which is a loosing game. So I am very thankful and excited that the DNR has prioritized the Scuppernong Springs for a prescribed burn this year. In fact, assuming the weather forecast for tomorrow, May 6th, doesn’t change, we should have perfect conditions. DNR veteran Don Dane is the burn boss and he has been working on the plan for months. The scope is approximately 900 acres covering an area south of Hwy ZZ and west of Hwy 67. I’m really looking forward to participating!
I wasn’t able to get to The Springs last week so I was eager yesterday to see the progress of Spring.
I started the day girdling aspen down by the Hotel Springs. This is an extensive clonal colony with huge trees and a lot of work remains.
I took a break mid-morning to attend the Kettle Moraine Natural History Association’s annual meeting at forest headquarters. Susan Beyler, fisheries biologist and NR Region Team Supervisor with the DNR, filled in for Ben Heussner and made an excellent presentation on the “Fishes of the Mukwonago River”. She also covered the restoration efforts being made on the old Rainbow Springs golf course, which the DNR recently acquired, to remove all of the culverts that were installed to control the river. This area comprised a wide diversity of unique habitats before the bulldozers arrived and they are hopeful that some of this diversity will re-emerge. I hope to meet with Susan at the Scuppernong Springs to take a tour and get her unique perspective.
After the meeting I headed over to the buckthorn alley to resume cutting there.
The buckthorn trees here are tall and thick so it was slow going.
Later, I took a walk on the cut-off trail and noticed lots of flowering plants emerging. It will be interesting to see how they survive the fire.
The frogs were calling from the bogs on the north side of the loop trail.
John Hrobar sent me this link to an interesting article:
New scientific studies reveal Midwestern frogs decline, mammal populations altered by invasive plant
Researchers say this is a call to action to remove European buckthorn from the region
More May Apple in front of the old barn site.
The Hatching House Springs have been hidden for years and it is really interesting to see what is coming up there now.
As we head towards the summer solstice, I find I have to locate myself farther and farther south on the Indian Campground to get the best view of the sunset.
See you at The Springs!