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What’s Happening at the Serene Ravine

By Stacey Wildberger

Weed pulling is in (almost) full swing as the Wednesday Weed Warriors have been cautiously meeting on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 6:45 to pull invasive weeds such as garlic mustard, bush killer, dames rocket and money plant to name a few.  We started the season with Wine in the Weeds kickoff where we had many new volunteers interested in helping out but unfortunately due to COVID 19 concerns most have been unable to participate.  We look forward to seeing everyone come out and attack the invasive plants when we return to normal! The CCC board members still meet in small groups of 3-4 with plenty of socially distancing to work on Wednesday evenings to try to get ahead of those nasty plants.

On Saturday April 25th we also arranged to add over 350 plugs of three Carex species (a grass like plant) and more Packera Aurea to naturally combat the garlic mustard to the Serene Ravine.  We had a small group of people working at a safe distant apart and we quickly got all the plants in the ground.  Mother Nature helped us out by watering it the next day and into the following week. 

Packera Aurea in Serene Ravine (by Stacey Wildberger)

Speaking of the Packera Aurea, that experiment is going great!  We planted hundreds of plugs last spring and fall to naturally suppress the garlic mustard and it is working.  We planted about 10-12 plants per 5’ circle in high garlic mustard areas and many of the circles are completely filled in with the Packera Aurea and spreading outside of the circles as well.  I have found little to no traces of garlic mustard in those areas.  The Packera Aurea has been in full bloom from the end of March to now as I write this.  The colorful display is not only attractive to early season pollinators but also pedestrians walking by.  The eye catching pop of color draws walkers in to the path.  Once there they discover the wonder, beauty and tranquility of the Serene Ravine.  We have several snakes, frogs, insects and birds making their home there.   Cape resident Louise Zeitlin spotted a red shouldered hawk and a palm warbler on her first visit.  She quickly fell in love with the splendor and nature of the Ravine that she decided to give back to the community by painting rocks with messages and hiding them along the path for kids and adults to discover.  Others followed suit and added their own! Please be sure to take a quick detour if you are walking past on Lake Claire Dr. and see for yourself.

Red Shouldered Hawk (by Louise Zeitlin)
Palm Warbler (by Louise Zeitlin)

We are looking to add more plants to attract wildlife, as well as humans, increase the biodiversity, slow run runoff and control erosion.  Plants on my wish list include woodland phlox, mayapples, skunk cabbage, white wood aster, goldenrod and ferns.  We will continue to fight invasive plants, mulch the path and add native plants.  If you are interested in helping out in a socially distant way or becoming involved at a later time please email me at president@capeconservationcorps.org

Top 5 Ways to be Habitat Hero

  1. Plant native plants- they have co-evolved along the native species that use them.
  2.  Be sure to always have multiple plants in bloom thorough out each season in a variety of color, shape and size.
  3.  Provide a clean water source such as a bird bath or pond
  4.  Eliminate the use of pesticides- use IPM (for every pest there are natural predators).  Let nature do its job.
  5.  Let fallen leaves, branches lay (or move them to a designated area so nesting bees and other overwintering insects have a safe place.  It will also attract birds to the pile looking for tidbits!
Sedum ternatum White Stonecrop (by Stacey Wildberger)
Salvia lyrate Lyre Leaf Sage (by Stacey Wildberger)


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