A Mutualistic Relationship - Volunteers and Butterfly Ridge

We have had two awesome volunteer events in the month of June.  Below is a photo of the group that helped us plant the short grass prairie.  We were able to plant over 200 native perennials in just under two hours.  Without these helpers it would've been an all day job in the blazing heat.

The task - planting all of these!

The task - planting all of these!

Post-planting tour.

Post-planting tour.

This past weekend was our second event, the opening of what used to be a field.  My family stopped mowing the field roughly 20 years ago and the field had grown into a very dense forest, averaging 10-15 trees per 100 square feet.  Butterflies are not very fond of dense forest so the task was to cut large openings (roughly 1/10 acre for each) in the thick woods.

The work was hard and long.  My original plan was to offer a moth lighting night after the first work day but we were all so exhausted we scrapped that plan!  Everybody seemed to have a little more energy on Sunday!

One of the things I am most excited about, in addition to the openings being cut into the woods, was that several of our helpers learned new skills.  April and Nancy had never driven a Gator before.  Now they are Gator Masters!  Asa had minimal experience with the chain saw and Brandon had no experience with the chainsaw.  Both cut down probably over 100 trees each without killing themselves or others!  It was a tremendous weekend.

Cutting the openings in the woods is not finished and I am sure we will offer another Work Weekend in July or early August.  Hopefully you can join us!

Nancy and April getting their Gator on, hauling freshly cut fence posts and firewood.

Nancy and April getting their Gator on, hauling freshly cut fence posts and firewood.

The tag team of Justin and Parker taking a well-deserved break.  Parker is studying a geometrid moth caterpillar (inch-worm!) crawling on his hand!

The tag team of Justin and Parker taking a well-deserved break.  Parker is studying a geometrid moth caterpillar (inch-worm!) crawling on his hand!

Brandon, now known by the super-hero name Chain Saw, hard at work.

Brandon, now known by the super-hero name Chain Saw, hard at work.

The tag team of Asa and Eileen (wishing they were done?).

The tag team of Asa and Eileen (wishing they were done?).