Tag Archives: Progress

How to Restore Native Plants to a Meadow

by Barbara Walvoord

Our  meadows at Lathrop are a mixture of native plants and alien plants. Scientific study shows that the more native plants we have, the more bees, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife our meadows can support.

Experts have a number of methods to reduce alien plants and increase natives.  We are not destroying everything with Roundup, burning the meadow, or tilling it repeatedly over an entire season.  Instead, we’ve chosen overseeding, plugging, and smothering.

Overseeding: In the swale behind Huckleberry Lane, one snowy day last winter, we spread native seeds right over the existing plants, relying on the snow to work them down into the soil.  In this method, Continue reading How to Restore Native Plants to a Meadow

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New Year by the Numbers

by Barbara Walvoord

50: The number of total acres of Lathrop land, on both campuses, that have been cleared of invasives, or that are part way through a three-year project to clear invasives. This is a terrific achievement!

4: The number of grants we have received for this work.

Beyond 5,000: The number of invasive plants that volunteer residents have cleared from our land. Some of these plants were garlic mustard plants or shrub and tree seedlings we pulled quickly; some were humongous multiflora rose bushes that took an hour to cut down with our loppers and saws. Some were bittersweet vines as thick as your arm. In addition, our Polatin Ecological Services team has cleared more thousands of invasives from our fifty acres.

96%: The percentage of birds that need insects, not just seeds and nectar, to raise their young.

90%: The percentage of insects that eat only native plants. Plants develop structure and chemistry that deter insect eaters. But a native insect species has developed mouth parts and body chemistry to overcome the defenses of one, or a small number, of native plants Continue reading New Year by the Numbers

Lathrop Volunteers and Professionals Attack Invasives

by Barbara Walvoord

If you East campus folks heard chain saws last week out in the woods, that was our crew of workers from Polatin Ecological Services, removing invasive shrubs from several high-priority areas of our land. This work is part of a 3-year plan funded by a grant from the Kendal Charitable Fund and by individual resident donations. North campus, you are part of the plan, so this winter or next spring, you’ll hear the chain saws, too.

AND–if you heard the snick of hand loppers and the rasp of hand-held tree saws, along with some grunts, creaking knees, and shouts of triumph, that was our intrepid group of 7 east campus residents who gathered on Thursday, Nov. 20, to remove invasive honeysuckle, buckthorn, and vines from the woods along Bassett Brook Road.

The volunteers cleared about 52 invasives from the edge of the woods, starting at the Inn, and going all the way to the corner of Bassett Brook and Mulberry. We let the Polatin crew, with their chain saws and protective clothing, go after the thickets of sharp-thorned multiflora rose along Mulberry Lane.

invasives Chris Nov 14 018

The very good news is that, while the edges of this woodland were invaded, the middle is quite pristine, and we stopped the invasives from moving farther in.

When native shrubs replace those invasives, that area of our land will support many more insects, birds, and other wildlife. It will Continue reading Lathrop Volunteers and Professionals Attack Invasives

Progress Against Invasive Plants

-Barbara Walvoord

Yikes! This fall, you can clearly see how Lathrop’s woods are being invaded by alien shrubs and vines: the bright red of burning bush, the yellow-green of bush honeysuckle, the prickly multiflora rose and barberry, the orange berries of Oriental bittersweet vine. These plants still have leaves in fall when natives have gone dormant. They have left behind the competitors and enemies that control them in their native lands, so they can take over a woods, creating an impenetrable mass that supports many fewer insects, birds, and other wildlife than native plants.

We’re making progress against these invasives! The Land Conservation Subcommittee, working with Lathrop management, has a plan, a set of priorities, some money, and a contractor. Here is what is happening now: Continue reading Progress Against Invasive Plants

Report to Residents July 30, 2014

Report of the Land Conservation Subcommittee of the Green Committee

July 30, 2014

by Barbara Walvoord, Chair

Committee Members: Adele Dowell, Jim Dowell, Alfred Eipper, Sharon Grace, Chuck Gillies, Lyn Howe, Eleanor Johnson, Gillian Morbey, Diedrick Snoek, and Barbara Walvoord

Since our last report, the committee has moved forward in each of its eight lines of work:

  1. Master plan, finances, infrastucture
  2. Agricultural fields
  3. Removal of invasives
  4. Bushwhacking, mowing
  5. Herbicides, pesticides
  6. Planting natives
  7. Trails
  8. Programming and information

Particularly, watch for these developments:

  • Tomorrow, July 31, the state Biologist and the state Soil Conservation Planner are coming to walk our fields and give us ideas about how best to support wildlife, especially grassland birds like bobolinks and meadowlarks, which are increasingly at risk. Support for grassland birds and other wildlife is one of three alternative uses for our fields that we are researching. The other two alternatives (not mutually exclusive) are organic/sustainable farming, and a possible 5-8-acre solar field on a piece of our land not visible from our homes. A representative from a solar cooperative called Community Solar is coming August 18 at 10 a.m. in the Inn for a very early exploratory discussion. Nothing may come of it, and no commitments will be made without a GREAT DEAL more investigation and discussion with the whole Lathrop community, board, etc.
  • Presentation in August or September by our naturalist consultant Laurie Sanders about the natural history, present status, and future of our land.
  • Development of a native wildflower garden in front of Cranberry House. We’ll be sharing the plan with all of you and inviting you to participate in (or come and watch) a planting day in the fall.
  • We are contacting contractors who can help us remove invasives in our fields, woods, and wetlands that are threatening our native plants and wildlife.
  • We need information from residents about their needs and desires for walking trails.

Report to Residents Nov 2013

Lathrop East Path
Lathrop East Path

The New “Green” Committee

November, 2013 Barbara Walvoord, Chair What is the purpose? To protect and enrich Lathrop’s conserved land, wildlife, birds, and native habitat, and to work toward reducing Lathrop’s carbon footprint and addressing climate change. In the words of the Kendal mission, to “walk lightly on the land.” Who is working on it now? Barbara Walvoord and Sharon Grace,  …and YOU…. So far, we have…

  • Met with Thom, Mike, and Michael Harvey to discuss how to work together on this project.
  • Prepared a future presentation for residents (watch for the date!) and for the property committee of the Board
  • Identified several potential naturalists who can help us inventory our land and shape a plan for its nourishment
  • Begun to inventory and remove invasive plants such as bittersweet and barberry, that threaten to suffocate our trees and form an impenetrable mass in our woods, crowding out the native plants on which our birds, insects, and wildlife depend.
  • Started a native wildflower garden in the meadow at the end of the woods path
  • Marked a 15-minute walking path from the small garden shed to the bank of Bassett Brook. (Look for the orange ribbons.)