Friday, December 14, 2012

Standing Rocks Project- WRA

It was November 15th that the majority of our NRES 370 Class went out with Glen Reindl's Wisconsin River Academy to the back of Standing Rocks Park. We showed up early, So I played frisbee with my colleagues while we waited for the bus from SPASH to show up.

The weather was a beautiful 50 degrees or so. It was very sunny. The surroundings were beautiful. Wisconsin forests are awesome!

The ranger met up with us soon after we got there. When the bus arrived Glen gave us the low down and then gave the students a similar low down. They have been out here before. We haven't

We were going after Autumn Olive, an invasive species that lives around the woods behind and in Standing Rocks Park. Basically we were charged with leading student groups in cutting down and destroying the plant. This involved one person sawing or snipping the plant and a designated herbicide sprayer This Herbicide was a mix of a potent poison and diesel fuel. The diesel was supposed to allow for a quicker destruction of the Autumn Olive and (oddly enough) so that it wouldn't spread to other plants. Apparently, the diesel doesn't wash away as easily

My group was really productive and filled with really nice kids. Some of them were hunters and pointed out deer rubs and other fun tracking signs. We worked for about 3 hours sawing and snipping. I had some gloves with me, so I ran the spray bottle while the students cut down the Autumn Olive.
I noticed the ranger had a contraption on his back that basically showered the plant with the herbicide mix. I thought this was odd as we were making the students cut them. This is supposed to lower the environmental impact. Yet, the ranger had no problem just spraying plants all over the place. I wonder what the over all effects of the spray compared to the Autumn Olive itself? Is it really worth spraying so much? Though I must say, I would hate to chop and spray all by myself.

This was a beautiful pond/lake we found over a ridge. This is technically private land. The own has chosen to selectively cut his land to promote the growing of some plants/tress. I don't really know the benefit of it other than the revenue from selling the wood. Seems counter-intuitive. I guess it might be similar to control burning certain areas.

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