As we look forward to our natural areas stewardship goals for 2015, we look back at what we accomplished in 2014. It was an exciting year! Check out the highlights of the year below, or read the full 2014 Annual Stewardship Report (click the title).
- Stewardship Blog: I launched this blog, the Natural Areas Notebook in June 2014 to help inform residents about the cool biota in the township and advertise the many opportunities to help care for our natural areas.
- Prescribed Burns: We contracted with Plantwise LLC for prescribed burn work. We completed burns in old fields at Bear Creek Nature Park and Charles Ilsley Park on May 19, 2014. We completed prescribed burns along the Paint Creek Trail at the Art Project, Paint Creek Heritage Area – Wet Prairie, Kamin Easement, and Nicholson Prairie on November 5, 2014. The remaining burns in the contracts (Lost Lake Nature Park, Bear Creek Nature Park forest, and Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park) were postponed due to early snow and will hopefully be completed in Spring 2015.
- Volunteer Program: Volunteer workdays were held two times per month from July to November. Participation was generally low (ranging from 0 to 7 volunteers per workday), but the workdays provided invaluable experience with scheduling, preparing, and leading volunteer workdays.
- Floristic Surveys: I surveyed Gallagher Creek Park, O’Connor Nature Park, and Paint Creek Heritage Area – Fen during summer 2014 to document the plant species growing in each park.
- US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Grant: Prairie restoration at Charles Ilsley Park and Draper Twin Lakes Park was jump started by a $15,200 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service through their Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. The stewardship crew worked hard to clear invasive woody shrubs in 18 acres of old fields at Charles Ilsley Park and 20 acres of old field at Draper Twin Lake Park to prepare for planting in 2015.
- USDA Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) grant: work continued on the 2008 WHIP grant, which funds habitat restoration along the Paint Creek Trail to benefit native pollinators.
- Seasonal Technicians: We had three outstanding technicians in 2014. Matt Peklo returned for his third year, Alex Kriehbel returned for his second year, and Jonah Weeks worked her first year.
- Natural Areas Stewardship Manager: I started with Oakland Township Parks and Recreation as the Natural Areas Stewardship Manager in April 2014.