Louise Senior calls these volunteer days "Into the Woods", which is where we all headed this past Sunday. Louise organized some volunteers from the Unitarian Church on Cherry Hill Road to start restoring the township-owned woods that borders the church. My job with Friends of Princeton Open Space is to assist such initiatives with some supervision and supplies.
Together, we cleared invasive shrubs and vines, finding amongst their dense growth some natives to save, including blackhaw Viburnum and American Holly.
In the photo, Dunbar Birnie pulls an old multiflora rose away from a forest clearing. The brush was piled back in the woods to make wildlife habitat.
I usually forget to take before and after shots, but here is the forest clearing choked with invasive multiflora rose bushes. This area was targeted for restoration because it is often wet, and open enough to get some sun to the ground.
Here is the transformation--a wet, sunny location ideal for all the various native wildflowers that thrive in such habitat. Some more invasives removal, a follow-up planting of native plants, and what has been a rather empty woods of evergreen trees will start offering a more varied diet for the local wildlife.
Thanks goes to Bill, David and Cathy Bauer-Koggen, Dunbar and Nick Birnie, Stan DeReull and Annette Sheldon.
Volunteers also potted “live stakes” of native elderberry, silky dogwood and buttonbush. Cuttings from these three species can be stuck in soil and, if kept watered and given some sun, will sprout roots and leaves and grow into full-sized shrubs. This small collection of pots actually holds 60 new plants.
The church is planning to have a followup workday May 17.