Monday, July 21, 2014

Volunteer Stewardship Event

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Friday, July 25, 6:30-8:30pm
In BUHR PARK
(north end of gravel parking lot)
 
*Learn about this project that provides a habitat for native plants and animals,
an attractive educational site for children, neighbors and other visitors, an environmental filter for storm water runoff from the park grounds, and most recently, a model for exploring
the integration of native plants and food production.  
*Tour the 3 wet meadows and the new food forest.
*Dig in and help spread woodchips, pull weeds, plant, mulch. Bring your favorite tools;  
gardening attire recommended.
*Bring family, friends and neighbors. All ages welcome.
 
Refreshments provided. Bring your own drinking cup.  
 
For more information or to learn more about the project: email or call -

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wet Meadow Two - 10th Anniversary!

A team of teens and community volunteers planned and planted the second wet meadow in Buhr Park 10 years ago this summer. It is getting along famously and servings its purposes of capturing rainwater that falls in the park and nearby neighborhoods and making the park a more interesting place for people and critters of all shapes and sizes.

The most interesting feature of wet meadow 2 is the sand zone at the north end. When excavating we were surprised to discover such a sandy area. It has turned out to be a wonderful habitat for cacti, bluestem, and killer wasps.









Sunday, June 29, 2014

Butterfly Observations

A local expert in butterfly identification visited the wet meadows recently, with particular attention to the sandy upper basin behind the swimming pool.

He saw cabbage white, long dash, Peck's skipper, Ringlet, red admiral, silver-spotted skipper, and banded hairstreak butterflies. The banded hairstreaks were visiting the butterfly weed.

Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 Wet Meadow Burn - April 9

The 15th annual Wet Meadow Burn took place in Buhr Park on April 9. At about 5:00 PM the NAP crew lead by Tina, lit up Wet Meadow 3. 
 
City of Ann Arbor natural area program staff conduct the annual prescribed burn of the wet meadows.

This year we burned Wet Meadow 2, Wet Meadow 3, the parking lot swale, and several other native plantings. We are hoping to burn Wet Meadow 1 and Wet Meadow 1 extension later in the spring to help control crown vetch.

Burns help manage native landscapes by clearing out old growth, fighting back non-native plants that are not fire-adapted, and preparing the ground for spring growth.
 





Sunday, March 17, 2013

Come celebrate on Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Join us to welcome Spring with the annual prescribed burn at Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow! Starting at mid-afternoon, trained experts from the City of Ann Arbor's Natural Area Program will explain safety measures, then ignite last year’s dry stems and leaves.

One parent says, "It's quite a sight - my daughter has gone to prescribed burns from age 2 and loves them. I think it's quite safe for kids of any age if they're with a parent."

Although burning may seem destructive, fire actually serves to stimulate vigorous new growth of native plants, controls the invasion of undesirable plants, warms the soil and releases nutrients. Fire allows diverse native plant and animal communities to thrive in natural areas.

After the fire is safely out, children will scatter seeds that were collected last Fall, and dance or sing to encourage new growth. In a few weeks the meadows will be springing back to life, better than ever.

If the weather permits, consider bringing a picnic supper. Come and go when you like. The event is free and open to the public. Buhr Park is in east Ann Arbor, at 2751 Packard (on the north side of the street) between Eisenhower and Platt. Children must be accompanied by a parent.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Super Swampers Spring Planning


Super Swampers met today to plan activities for the year. We spent time thinking about what we liked about the wet meadows and the project and then brainstormed things we'd like to do.

Here's what we like:
  • It helps the environment
  • The flowers and the birds
  • Community
  • Bringing beauty to our park
  • Flowers
  • Helps animals live
  • Habitats for animals
  • Playing, plants, water, smiles, laughing
Here are some of the things we'd like to do (in the order of number of dot votes each one got):
  • Making or planting things (6)
  • Food (4)
  • The Burn (4)
  • Signs and awareness (4)
  • Animals (3)
  • Play/Fun (2) - but we always have fun
  • Taking care of it (1)
We'll get together soon to start planning the burn and things to make or plant.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wet Meadows in a Drouth Year

As awareness grows on the impact of this summer's widespread drouth across the central US, it's interesting to look at the wet meadows in Ann Arbor's Buhr Park. Wet meadows, like many artificial "rain gardens," feature native plants that can thrive when occasionally inundated, and that grow and bloom even if they have "wet feet" for days or weeks at a time.

So how have they handled this year's drouth?

Exhibit A, in very sandy soil (upper basin on west side, almost behind the locker rooms, says "Drouth, what drouth?". It's growing bigger, to catch more sun.

Well, you say, cacti are a special case. So let's hear from someone else.

Exhibit B says,"I'm happy and healthy, thanks." This shrub (Ptelea trifoliata or wafer-ash)is also in that sandy upper basin. For plants that thrive on sand dunes, every year is a dry year.

Take a look for yourself. I think you'll agree that many, perhaps most of the plants are doing just fine, with no supplemental watering. A community of diverse species, well-established and appropriate to the site and soils, is remarkably resilient.