January 21st PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Dr. Thomas G. Barnes showed us slides from across Kentucky and spoke about the difference between a natural native landscape and a restoration.  You might be surprised if you had seen the slides!  In reviewing what is known about the natural native landscape in different regions of the US and especially Kentucky, it was interesting to note that, while Minnesota had native prairie land, only a small area in the Southwest corner of Wisconsin is believed to have originally been prairie.  He also noted the reduction of prairies across the country.  Kentucky went from 3 million acres to just a few hundred acres at one point; currently we are up to a few thousand acres of prairie in Kentucky.  The native prairie in Kentucky was 97% tall grasses.  We really don't have definitive knowledge of what the native landscape was in the Central Kentucky -Bluegrass area.  If there were native savannah they would have been maintained by fire (started by lightening, natural conditions and native inhabitants) and by grazing (bison, elk…).  Today we replace grazing with mowing.  Early fire or mowing favors the flowers (forbs) and late fire or mowing favors the grasses.  Eastview and Athey Barrens are the best prairies in Kentucky; both are currently being restored.  If you are trying to do a native restoration, it is better to seek seed stock from east or west (same general latitude and climate range) than it is to go farther north or south.  The Nature Conservancy standard is to use seed from the same physiographic province.  Restoration is more than just putting in native plants; it means restoring the normal state of the geo-chemical systems.  The slides of various sites across Kentucky were breathtaking. 
February 16th  - Monthly Meeting:
Linda Sanford, Program Director for the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, spoke at the February 16th monthly meeting.  She gave us a brief history of Louisville's Olmsted Parks, and overview of the Parks Champions efforts, and a closer focus on the triangle that Wild Ones has adopted in Cherokee Park.  In addition to ongoing clean-up/litter removal, there are 3 basic phases of the
Wild Ones in Cherokee Park project:

  • Review the Site: Do a plant inventory/survey [See April schedule]  Look for aspects of the site that are important for interpretive use in restoring this area.  Identify possible trail alignments to connect with the steps at
Baringer Spring.
  • Remove Invasives in the manner that imposes the least impact and is most effective.  Hand pulling and use of the weed wrench wherever possible.  There are some aggressive invasive vines that will require treatment with a glyphosate herbicide; some of the larger bush honeysuckle and buckthorns may require a chainsaw.  This work should be done by Parks staff or those certified to spray.  Some, but not all, of the brush will need to be hauled off.  Parks staff will haul off what we drag out to the roadside.
  • Restoration: Preparing the soil, putting back native plant communities from local sources--possible even plants rescued from local sites.  Wild Ones can collect seed, propagate plants at home - even hard/softwood cuttings can be used.

Spring Arrivals

March in Cherokee Park: Harbinger of spring is in full bloom and Corydalis is just pushing through…

April arrivals: American toads, spring peepers, pickerel frogs, Wippoorwills,, Morel mushrooms, redbuds, dogwoods, serviceberry, Large-flowered trillium, Squirrel Corn, False Solomon's Seal,, Coral-root orchid,  and more spring wildflowers…..
May arrivals: Hummingbirds, Pink and Yellow Lady's Slippers, Shooting Star, Spring Warblers, Kentucky Darters, Virginia Bluebells, Putty-root orchid, Carrion-flower, Big Brown Bats, and more…
June:  Least terns begin nesting on Mississippi and Ohio River sandbars: avoid these areas through July to protect their nests.  Purple fringed orchids blossom on Black Mountain.  Wild quinine, Daisy Fleabane, Green-stemmed Joe-Pye-Weed, and on to summer wildflowers...

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