I am officially in my 4th month as Land Manager here at Wehr Nature Center and it feels like I’ve been here so much longer…and I mean this in the most sincere way. Working with the weekly volunteers of Phenology, Eco Warriors, Wheel n’ Chip, and Earth Care has made me feel like one of the crew. It’s a great group of people who know how to have fun while getting a lot of work done, and I mean A LOT. Despite some of the hot and humid days, low air quality days, or raining (down pouring) days, these lovely people show up to identify all the blooming plants in our natural spaces and/or get their hands dirty in our natural spaces. The dedication and love they have for Wehr is so apparent and contagious, and it has been a joy being with them.
Along with working with weekly volunteers, I’ve been busy working solo as well. I’ve identified various areas around Wehr Nature Center that I’ll be focusing on in the near future. One of those areas is around our newly built Observation Blind. I’ve started clearing out all the invasive shrubs and vines which have been suppressing the native plants underneath. A month after the invasive plants have been removed, we’ve already seen a flush of native growth just waiting to be freed! Just adjacent to the blind, I led a WNC staff planting where we planted nearly 140 plants in an area dominated by weeds and invasive plants.
Another area I’ve been focusing on is the entrance to WNC. We’ve been clearing out a thicket of shrubs, trees, and vines (both native and non-native) to allow visibility into the beautiful woods and prairies that were once hidden from the road. This not only allows people to see these plant communities, but will also allow wildlife to move more safely across the road. This philosophy of opening up transition areas between prairie and woodland goes with a larger idea of having plant communities seamlessly flow from one to another. All-in-all, it’s a good thing for us and for wildlife.
These two areas are part of a larger vision that I have for the natural spaces around Wehr Nature Center. On November 19th at our Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, I’ll be talking more in depth about the work that I’ve been doing, but also talking about my vision for Wehr. This will include 5-7 year goals, along with summarizing my Restoration and Management Plan I’m writing for Wehr Nature Center. It will be very informative and hopefully engaging.
Jeff Veglahn, Land Manager