On Saturday, March 11th, 2017, Habitat 2030 joined the Churchill Woods Protectors in DuPage County, Illinois to remove invasive brush from their woodlands. Surrounded by beautiful oaks and hickories, we removed invasive common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.). Several people completely new to habitat restoration showed up and learned the basics of invasive brush identification as well as how to use a bow saw and loppers.
Unfortunately, unlike several other regional organizations, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County still does not allow volunteer land stewards to burn the invasive brush during workdays, so we did not have our typical brush fire to throw the brush into. This can actually be quite problematic, as the brush piles become either more numerous, or much larger than they would be otherwise, as the brush would typically disappear into ash and smoke while the fire burns and the pile’s “footprint” is kept small. Large and numerous brush piles sterilize large areas of land, taking years to heal, and likely killing any dormant native seeds that are sleeping in the soil. We hope that DuPage County will revise their policies to allow stewards to safely burn brush and small trees as other counties currently allow.
After our workday, we took a short hike down to the DuPage River to check out restored river riffles and and a huge oak tree! The north edge of the DuPage River where we hiked were in need of management, currently choked with more buckthorn and very few wildflowers. How satisfying it will be to revisit the area once the Churchill Woods Protectors get their hands on restoring the whole of Churchill Woods. Following the woodland hike, a few of us checked out a plum thicket (Prunus americana) at the Churchill Prairie Nature Preserve across the road then celebrated the successful workday with food and drink at the nearby Babcock’s Grove House in Lombard. Thanks to Andrew Van Gorp for organizing this workday!
- Churchill Woods Protectors (website, Facebook)
- Sustain Dupage (website, Facebook)
- Churchill Woods Forest Preserve
- Babcock’s Grove House
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