I was sweating so profusely that I couldn’t keep my glasses on my face. But it wasn’t a problem. The privet I was pulling out of the sandbar was easy to distinguish from the native ferns also growing there.
And there was something deeply gratifying–even fun–about whacking invasive plants!
The work day I participated in this past Saturday was organized by Dan Strecker as a project of the Louisiana Native Plant Society, Capital Area chapter. The target of his project and the place we put in our sweat equity Saturday is Tunica Hills WMA, a place that stands out in my mind as one of our most beautiful WMAs.
Dan is also a Master Naturalist and began his work in habitat restoration a few years ago with the Greater Baton Rouge chapter of Louisiana Master Naturalists. The project he started for LMNGBR is now run by Karen Pinsonat, the statewide winner of our recent Rendezvous 2021 Scavenger Hunt.
Tunica Hills is extraordinary in my eyes because of its ridges and deep ravines, many of them featuring a stream at the bottom. The sandbar I worked Saturday was at the bottom of a ravine on Trail A. The stream was dry on this day, but the sandbar was well-shaded. In addition to pulling privet, I cut trifoliate orange–several big clumps of it–with a big lopper, then Dan came along with his spray bottle and treated the cut stems with a chemical that will kill the roots.
People who know me best might be surprised to learn that I took not a single photo! I was too focused on the work and throwing all my energy into whacking invasives.
So… the Northeast chapter of Louisiana Master Naturalists Board of Directors met on zoom yesterday evening and we will organize to do something like this in our corner of the state. The places I know of that all have invasive species issues include Camp Hardtner (near Pollock), Kiroli Park and Restoration Park in West Monroe, and Black Bayou Lake NWR.
Of course, there are protocols for removing invasive species properly and safely. We will learn them and follow them. If you’re interested in joining this good work, let us know. It’s cathartic!