|These two bur oaks stand amid a rich ecosystem. We know that from memory. Now it's mostly under ground.|
|After three decades of invasives control, local seed gathering and broadcast, and fire - the woodland is stable and rich.|
|Columbine (red), Beardtongue (white), and Spiderwort (blue).|
|Wild Bergamot, Joe Pye Weed, and Starry Campion flower, but Tall Goldenrod makes up most of the green ... and may be a threat to the others.|
The Illinois Native Plant Society recently funded research by Dr. Karen Glennemeier in cooperation with the Somme stewards to test some approaches. Perhaps all that's needed is more seed of species that are better adapted to such intermediate-light areas. Eriko Kojima, below, has been leading our seed gathering in recent years.
|Wide-leaved Panic Grass|
Most people hardly notice sedges and grasses. Botanists cherish them. Ecosystems depend on them for structure, fuel and many animals' food and habitat.
|Q: Why is this woman happy? A: Because she's broadcasting rare spring seeds.|
|A handful of rare, costly treasure.|
Does it sound like we aren't sure what's the best management? We'll admit that that's sometimes true. That's why we need more science. But possibly to restore your confidence a bit, look at the last two photos.
The first is from April 8, 2020. The black char of fire is finally being replaced by green. And out here in full sun we're confident (as we were under the oaks) that we know what to do.
|Cowbane, Spotted Joe Pye Weed, Sweet Black-eyed Susan, and Virginia Mountain Mint.|
Orchard orioles, red-headed woodpeckers, and great spangled fritillaries already thrive here, where silent, dark buckthorn once stood.
Life is good.
For scientific names and more details...
(but, sorry, not the study, yet) ...
check out a slightly more technical version of this post.
Thanks for proofing to Kathy Garness.