Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rogers Refuge Gets Some TLC

Birds don't have cell phones, so how were we to know that the birdhouses at Rogers Refuge were so full of previous years' nesting material that there was no longer any room for the birds?

Maintenance--the eternal battle against entropy--is most often encountered with its sidekick modifier "deferred." The act of maintaining is an expression of love, increasingly rare in a hurried, throwaway age, and is to be celebrated whenever and wherever it happens.

On March 15, Fred, Winnie and Alex Spar took the possibly unprecedented step of cleaning out and re-positioning the many birdhouses at Rogers Wildlife Refuge. Most were jam-packed with a decade's worth of nests.

Fred and Winnie are both members of the Friends of Rogers Refuge (FORR)--the volunteer organization that works with the water company and the township to manage this haven for birds. Fred serves as president of FORR.

Visitors to the Refuge will notice some curious yellow tubes proliferating around the edges of the marsh, like Chinese lanterns. These have been installed to protect "live stakes" of native shrubs planted this spring. If all goes according to plan, this field, which until last year was dominated by invasive Phragmitis, will become populated with silky dogwood, buttonbush, elderberry, and various species of wildflowers grown from locally collected seed.

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