Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Making it Official - Kellogg Conservation Center pollinator habitat is a success!

In October of 2014 as part of a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, ATC reclaimed an old piece of pasture at the far southwestern side of our Kellogg Conservation Center property.  The area, about 1 acre in size, is nestled between an old apple orchard (still producing, though not managed) and a marginal agricultural field that was formerly grazed and is now mowed annually.  Utilizing volunteer labor on a few of our annual workdays, we had cleared out quite a bit of competing brush and trees throughout the orchard and so the next task was to chemically remove from the area of a variety of invasive plants and then rake up the dead vegetation and replant with a broadcast mix of pollinator-specific perennial plant seeds.  See our blog post from October 15, 2014 for photos and an explanation on that process.

Last summer not a lot appeared to happen on the plot.  After consulting with some experts it turns out that many of the plants take more than a year to become established.  So we waited...

This spring, things were looking good and that trend has continued through the summer with a variety of species making themselves apparent and the area teeming with bees, butterflies, and other various insects.  Seeing the plants establish themselves led us to register the site as a monarch waystation with MonarchWatch.org.  A path is mowed through the pollinator plot and it is an easy 5 minute stroll from our offices, so anyone who is inclined may visit the site.

ATC dogs approve! 

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