Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Earth Day 2009 - Milkweeds!

Super Swampers staffed the table and displays at the City of Ann Arbor Earth Day celebration at Leslie Science Center.

The theme of the day and for the all species parade was 'milkweeds'. We explained the importance of milkweeds for stormwater and for all the critters that depend upon them for their mutual well-being.

People who visited the Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow table were treated to free milkweed seeds. Many of them also purchased seed packets of wildflowers from the wet meadows (see previous post).

The also learned about the importance of wetlands in capturing stormwater in the ever popular paint tray stormwater model. See several of the smallest super swampers running the show below:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Seed Planting and Sorting

Today the Super Swampers spread seed that they had collected in Wet Meadows I & II.

We spent the most time planting in the sandy part of the upper basin of Wet Meadow II. We planted little bluestem seeds individually under moss that is growing there.

While we were planting, we found some visitors there, or at least some signs of visitors. Do you recognize these homes? It looks like there were two different creatures. The one on the left is some kind of red ant. The right one? We don't know.

We also sorted seeds into seed packets that we'll sell at Earth Day and other events.

Finally, we prepared for the all species parade at the Ann Arbor Earth Day festival. We plan to go dressed as various milkweeds and the critters that depend on them and help them. Would that be a group of symbiotic friends?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fox Hollow Prairie Planting

A new partnership with the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission began today when a team of Super Swampers planted the new Fox Hollow Prairie in County Farm Park.
The seeds were collected by the Super Swampers over the past several years from Buhr Park. Our stock of seed is now large enough that we can share. County Parks was interested, so we agreed on a place in County Farm Park called Fox Hollow.

We decided to go with a low tech approach for this project. Previously we would do extensive planning. This time we're experimenting. What if we sow seeds on the ground with minimal preparation? The idea is based in part on a conversation with Greg Vaclavek at the Native Plant Nursery a few years ago as he showed off a section of land that they stopped mowing, burned and did minimal seeding. It might be a longer process, but we've got time.

Soil preparation was simple: raking the ground and pulling loose materials off. Then seeds were sowed by the kids.

Complete List of Seeds
  • Yellow Coneflower
  • Iron Weed
  • Prairie Dock
  • Indian Grass
  • Blue Stem Goldenrod
  • Sneezeweed
  • Switch Grass
  • Fox Glove Beard Tongue
  • Hairy Beard Tongue
  • Bottle Brush Grass
  • Split Leaf Black Eyed Susan
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Bee Balm
  • Penstemon
  • Evening Primrose
  • Stiff Goldenrod
  • Cow Parsnip
  • Thimbleweed
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Common Milkweed
All seeds were collected from the Buhr Park "wet meadows" but our wet meadows have turned more to prairie over time. But we have no plans to change our name.
We have an idea that this small prairie will grow over the years and spread south and west as our little plot develops a good seed bank and nature takes its course.

Special thanks to Shawn Severance of the parks department who came and helped out.

Larger Images:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2009 prescribed burn - a big hit with kids

The prescribed ecological burn on April 2, 2009 was a great success! Lots of kids and parents had fun and leaned about fire, plants and wildlife.

This year we focused on the three basins in the souty west corner of the park (sometimes called Wet Meadow 2) that we planted in 2004.

More details soon.

P.s., if you took photos, please get in touch.

Like Monica the Garden Faerie who posted photos to her blog.