Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship
This year's volunteer stewardship
work began with weeding near the community gardens at Neville Place
and in Suzanna's Corner followed with a very wet garlic mustard weed-out
on Fresh Pond Day. After several more sessions weeding out Garlic Mustard,
volunteers started removing black swallowwort, dame's rocket, and mugwort.
Summer brought extreme heat, very little rain, mosquitoes and yellow
jackets, beautiful summer flowers in the gardens, bioswales, woods,
and meadows, endlessly rewarding us for our efforts. Fall brought sudden
darkness to our evening sessions, but also many new avian visitors and
sunsets on Fresh Pond. Working alongside wooly bears and stinkbugs,
canvasbacks and ring-necked ducks, red-tailed and cooper's hawks, cormorants
and goldfinches, nuthatches and woodpeckers, we ended this year's steward
sessions with the evening flight of a bat over Lusitania Meadow.
in and around the Butterfly Meadow weeding out mugwort, bittersweet vines,
spotted knapweed, cottonwoods, and buckthorn, while also dispersing vervain
and aster seeds harvested from the Kingsley Park Bioswale.
The Woodland Restoration Demonstration Project weeding, planting, and watering began in early April on Tuesdays In addition to help from Vinny, Milton, and Jose; Suzanna, Elizabeth, and Betsy made it through the dry summer heat by dragging in jugs of water from the community garden. While battling the voracious bunny with wire cages and fencing, they labeled most of the 110 native species in the garden for the Woodland Garden Visit, and gave visitors a printed species list. By late fall huge piles of buckthorn were harvested from the perimeter of the garden.
Nesting boxes around the Reservation are a joint effort of the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation and the Water Department. This year, in addition to chickadee, tree swallow, and wood duck boxes, 4 screech owl boxes were added. According to Elizabeth, in the tree swallow boxes there were 10 successful tree swallow broods and 1 chickadee brood. Of the chickadee boxes, 2 were occupied by house wrens, and of the screech owl boxes, one housed an owl, and 2 more may have had owls in them.
Year 5 of the Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project is going strong with the beetle release in the spring and monitoring in the spring and fall. This fall, with both an afternoon and an evening inventory, 12 volunteers participated in data collection. Data and results from the study will be made available as soon as they are ready.
Volunteers working with Ranger Jean, both in groups and individually, refurbished the Huron Ave switchback, installed water bars, dug up burdock and pokeweed at Kingsley Park and along the Perimeter Road, weeded at the Weir Meadow, in the wildflower garden behind Neville and next to Maher Park parking lot, applied woodchips to woodland trails, and raked leaves on the Kingsley Park hill.
Volunteers also helped spray and monitor poison ivy test plots to measure the effectiveness of vinegar, salt, and dish detergent on the leaves. Due to the success of the two test plots, the solution will be used along the entire perimeter fence next spring to hopefully eliminate much more of the pesky native. Other valuable volunteer contributions include picking up trash, bringing snacks to share, saving a reclining tree using large rocks, repairing a broken shovel, bringing in seeds to disperse around the Reservation, taking over weeding sessions during the time between Emily's departure and my arrival and also during my absence, and delivering extra tools needed for large volunteer events.
In 2010, 30 volunteer stewards worked more hours, 760, and had more work sessions, 93, than ever before. Along with the 378 volunteer hours contributed by Pond Partners working with Jean, volunteers at Fresh Pond Reservation worked over 1100 hours in 2010. Many thanks to the fantastic volunteers who helped sustain the beautiful and rich habitats for all visitors and inhabitants of Fresh Pond Reservation.