By: Mike Locatelli, Seasonal Employee and Guest Blogger
Over the winter, Mike Locatelli, Sunshine Love and Andy Beebe of the stewardship crew have been working on several projects in central Kentucky, with the most time being spent on the Jessamine Creek Gorge Conservation Area. This property was previously owned by TNC, and is now owned by Jessamine County. The biggest project at the preserve was to prepare for a spring restoration planting of over 3000 trees by using a bobcat with forestry cutter, basal bark oil and herbicide treatment of cut stumps in efforts to control invasive Bush Honeysuckle and Multiflora Rose. We have also spent time marking the property boundaries of the preserve and nearby tracts along the steep cliffs of Jessamine Creek and the Kentucky River.
In Pulaski County, we have worked on several projects at the Hazeldell Meadow and Buck Creek Preserves. In fall, we were fortunate enough to have the appropriate conditions to burn the Hazeldell Meadow, which remains very wet for most of the year. The burn will help to keep the meadow open, and also provide improved habitat for the endangered Spatulate Sundew. In the next couple weeks, the hiking trail will have gravel installed and kiosk to give visitors information about the significance of the site. At the Buck Creek preserve we improved the trail and kiosk, installed new gates and have treated Multiflora Rose, Japanese Honeysuckle and Tree of Heaven with herbicide. A portion of the Buck Creek Preserve may be burned this spring.
In the Green River area, Sunshine Love and Andy Beebe have been working several projects and have also recruited a friend from the Ohio Chapter of TNC to put in over 100 hours of volunteer time this spring. At the Row Bend Preserve they have been preparing approximately 50 acres of pasture land to be reforested with about 12000 seedlings of over 20 hardwood species. In preparation for fire season they have been clearing fire breaks, managing fire supplies and continuing fire training. In addition to the stewardship work they have been doing for TNC, they have organized a river cane planting on the Row Bend Preserve in our free time.