Thanks to ongoing restoration work, visitors to Blandford Nature Center can enjoy the sights and sounds of a wet meadow community. “When you walk into a meadow it’s so full of life; it’s just teeming. It’s noisy with the buzz of the pollinators, the chirping of the crickets, the flutter of the birds and the butterflies. It’s really alive. It’s much more than a field that needs to be mowed. It’s full of life.” Peggy Bowers, Horticulturist
The biodiversity of this area can increase. One day we hope it will represent a healthy wetland complex filled with native plants. What now has become a wet meadow once had an extensive drainage system put in place in order to create farmland. The 10 acres was a corn field for a long time. In recent years, through the Bert Hewett Memorial Fund and Fish and Wildlife Service’s removal of the drain tiles, it has been turned back into valuable wetland habitat. Management and stewardship continue to help preserve this landscape as a valuable historic reference point, illustrating the native community which was once visible throughout the Grand Rapids region.
This summer volunteers, Niko Schroeder and Lauryn Taylor, are working to protect the plant community by cutting and treating invasive glossy buckthorn growing among the sedges in the wet meadow. If the glossy buckthorn is left untreated, it will put the life of the meadow frogs at risk.
One frog that lives in the meadow makes the sound of a low gutteral snore-like rattle, which has been compared to a small motor boat engine. These snores are accompanied by a number of different chuckles and croaks. Summer volunteer, Jacob Phillips, from Green Mountain College, will be doing a herpetology survey to monitor the Northern Leopard frog as well as other amphibians and reptiles. The surveys will provide valuable information that will add to our understanding of species conservation. The results of the surveys will assist Blandford’s land management efforts in making decisions that will maximize the chances of continued success for the native species. The data he finds will be added to the Michigan Herp atlas. http://www.miherpatlas.org/
Blandford’s donors and members play an important role in supporting the ongoing efforts to preserve and improve this beautiful bio-diverse landscape. You too can get involved in the stewardship efforts. Come out and join in on one of the monthly Ecostewardship workdays. If you would like to volunteer or be involved at Blandford Nature Center please call (616) 735-6240 or visit http://blandfordnaturecenter.org/get-involved/.
While you are at it, we welcome you to become a member and help help support these important efforts.