It is fall. We finally got some rain. And, once that first frost hit (several weeks ago now), the jewelweed, one of our most tender and succulent herbs, was killed off. Basically, it’s now too late to do vegetation sampling. The wetlands survey is complete, all the paperwork turned in, and now it’s time to wrap up the botanical survey season and look back on a fun, exciting, and productive summer. Plant surveys in Wisconsin and Massachusetts are done; but the field work goes on. Just because the leaves are falling and the only flowers blooming are the asters, does NOT mean that field work is done – on the contrary. I work for Quercus Land Stewardship doing ecological restoration and land management, and have been busy on a variety of projects. Just did a prairie burn yesterday. Burning is one of our primary specialties, and one of my own passions. In addition to being exciting, fire is probably the MOST important way of maintaining our southern Wisconsin plant communities in a healthy and natural state. So burn, burn we must. But very carefully.
Also on tap: treating garlic mustard in the Baraboo Hills. These are billion-year-old mountains of quartzite, worn down by erosion, but still lofty, rising up over the surrounding bluffs and valleys. We’ll be making a big push in the fall to treat the garlic mustard with herbicide, traversing through forests of oak, pine, maple and hemlock. Not a bad way to spend your sunny fall days.