Thanks to a grant awarded to the BRFAL chapter by the National Science Foundation local volunteers have been assisting in an attempt to restore fields at BTW to native grasses and wildflowers both to provide habitat for native birds, insects and mammals and to more accurately reflect how that field might have appeared during the time of Booker T. Washington. The field, which is hayed by a local farmer, is being taken over by invasive Johnson grass which is not desirable for cattle feed or for forage.
The grant was awarded with the understanding that the concept of Collaborative Science would be utilized in studying which native grasses and forbs (any herb that is not a grass or grasslike) might best compete with the Johnson Grass. More information about this process can be found at collaborativescience.org .
A plot of 20 meters by 32 meters was laid out in the field, and it was mowed and treated with herbicide. It was then divided into smaller plots which were planted with three different seed mixtures: Tall grasses & wildflowers, Short grasses & wildflowers, and forage (switchgrass). This work was completed last Spring.
Since we had a rather wet Summer our seeds germinated rather well and now we have a growing plot. We are monitoring the plots by assessing germination and the rate of return of Johnson Grass. It is hoped that this will provide a plan for native restoration at the park that will have good results. We are being assisted in all of this by Dr. Ryan Klopf from DCR who is also our chapter adviser. Here are a few pix of our crack team assessing what grew well and what didn’t.
|Crack Team of Citizen Scientists|
|Guy & Ryan getting in to it|
|Counting species in one square meter|
Text by Meg
Pix by Rich