A fun way to learn how to manage your wildlife refuge is to take part in the Invasive Plants / Native Planting Workshop and Native Plant Sale on Saturday, April 20 (rain date April 27), from 9 a.m. to noon at the Saul Wildlife Sanctuary, behind the Old Mill in Rose Valley. This is a hands-on learning and volunteer service opportunity where you can learn about nonnative invasive plants, help to eradicate them, and plant native species in an important wildlife sanctuary. How-to guides from the Natural Lands Trust will be available for free.
As Roger Latham, head of the Rose Valley Environmental Advisory Council puts it, “nonnative invasive species are not good for wildlife, but having a diversity of native species is.” This event will provide you with a lot of useful information for navigating the terrain. For example, did you know that planting butterfly bush—a seemingly good idea—may actually hinder your efforts, as it is invasive and its nectar only supports adult butterflies, not the caterpillars from which they develop? Planting a “butterfly garden” of diverse native plants works much better.
It’s all a part of the circle of life. Nonnative invasive plants such as the garlic mustard weed prevent many native tree seedlings from growing. Without these trees, the insect population, with less to feed on, diminishes. Birds who need these insects to feed their young don’t prosper and eventually leave the area. So, to have the dulcet tones of songbirds close at hand, you need to know which of those nasty weeds need to go, and the proper ways to dispose of them. Pretty soon, with a little knowledge, you’ll be able to see the fruits of your efforts in your own beautiful back yard!