Summer is the season of growth in our region, and it’s the time when many of our conservation efforts become most apparent. Throughout the year, staff and volunteers have undertaken a plethora of projects to improve the long-term health of the land and the ways in which we all experience it. Here are a few of our summer conservation projects.
Butterfly Bend and the West Meadows
As you arrive at the curve of Brown Deer Road and Lake Drive, you’ll notice a new planting surrounding our sign to greet your arrival. We’ve named this area Butterfly Bend, as this sweeping landscape of more than 60 native species of undulating grasses and sedges, colorful forbs, blooming shrubs and trees will create habitat for butterflies and other pollinators. Working with our Conservation staff, Butterfly Bend was designed by three of our experienced land stewardship volunteers, Jane Shero, John Pearce, and Betsy Vokac.
While driving along East Brown Deer Road, you will observe that the West Meadows are more open. Throughout winter, while the ground was frozen, staff spent a great deal of time controlling invasive buckthorn in this area. You can now see through the trees to view North Pond and the Meadows.
New Plantings and Trails
Along the main entrance drive, we’re beginning the Birdscaping Demonstration Planting. This project has been partially funded by National Audubon Society’s Coleman and Susan Burke Center for Native Plants. One vital facet of attracting birds is to plant for the insects they eat. These 1,100 native plants will attract a wide variety of insects, and provide ample dining opportunities for migratory, resident, and breeding birds. As additional funding is secured, these plantings will eventually line a new, wheelchair accessible, trail along the entrance road.
We recently completed a project with assistance from a wetland delineation team from SEWRPC to better understand where our wetlands exist, so we can effectively restore these vital ecosystems. As we move forward with our Storm Water Wetland and Ravine Stabilization Project, we will reroute trails with wheelchair accessible paths. This summer, Conservation staff will develop the trail portion between the Preschool play space and the wigwam. Native plants displaced by construction will be rescued and used to restore wetland vegetation on retired trail segments.
Volunteers Make it All Possible
If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, we’re always looking for groups and individuals to help us improve our 185-acre outdoor classroom. You can help us reach our summer conservation goals. Learn more about volunteering at Schlitz Audubon.