Hello everyone! My name is Jeff Veglahn, the new Land Manager here at Wehr Nature Center. I am very excited to join this great team and work on a beautiful piece of land! I’ve been here nearly two months now and feeling very much at home. One of the biggest challenges I have faced so far is quickly learning about the land in the busiest time of the year. Figuring out where areas are in good shape, in terms of invasive species management, and areas where lots of people hours are required is essential to making a plan and being strategic in my work.
With that being said, my focus this year is on areas that are in good shape already and areas I’m calling “high impact” areas. “High impact” areas are those in rough shape, with a lot of invasive plants but in a small area. An example of one of the “High Impact” areas I’m focusing on this year is the area around our new bird blind that’s currently being built! My goal this year is to remove all the invasive trees, shrubs, and vines and open up the mid-canopy layer to allow viewing access to Mallard Lake.
Another area that I’m focusing on this year is an area that is already in pretty good shape is what we call the Gentian Prairie on the Northwest side of Mallard Lake. This prairie has a lot of high value plants, but is also being threatened by woody plants that out-compete prairie plants. My plan for the Gentian Prairie this year is to prepare it for a Spring 2024 prescribed burn. This will require thinning out the shrubs, so fire carries through, and creating a burn break around the perimeter of the prairie. Along with the Gentian Prairie being burned in 2024, we’ll also burn our Oak Savanna!
Though, none of this would be possible without the volunteers that come out and help me on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. If you are interested in volunteering and doing some really important land management work, please reach out to me (email@example.com)!