Tom's Blog

Friday, June 29, 2012

Help at Rettenmund Prairie from Edgewood College students

Yesterday, the hottest day of the year (97 F!), the crew worked (until noon) at Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie finishing up the first major sweet clover work of the year. Fortunately, we had some important help from a group of Edgewood College students.

For the past few years Nicole Kime of the Department of Natural Sciences at Edgewood College has been bringing groups of students for a work day. Sometimes it is fall and they collect seeds, but this time they were summer students who helped us deal with sweet clover.

Ever since Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie was purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 1986 sweet clover has been a problem. In the early years it was so bad that it had to be mowed, but the last time it has been mowed since Kathie and I have been managing the site was 2008. Now we control it by hand pulling, which is time consuming but lots more benign, leaving the native vegetation unaffected.

The photo (taken by Kathie) shows Nicole and her students together with Amanda and our three interns. With a group this large, we were able to make short shrift of a large sweet clover area!

We should have a few weeks off from sweet clover now, but will be back again from mid-August until the fall to get the late bloomers. We are determined to keep any sweet clover seeds from maturing.


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