Champlain Park’s Intrepid Volunteers (Champlain Woods)

from Daniel Buckles

Wonder what the blue flags near the Carleton/Pontiac entrance to the river are all about? To the west of the entrance, Catherine Shearer has been protecting a patch of the common milkweed, a plant critical to the Monarch Butterfly. This emblematic butterfly is making something of a come back this year (see here for details). In the same area she is also removing seeds of the Dog Strangling Vine, an invasive species that if left unchecked will form a dense mat that smothers trees, shrubs and everything else. Along the main trail to the river are flags showing where a house for Purple Martins will be installed next spring (rescued from the old Trailhead building by Adrian Bradley, and fixed up by Alan Ramunus and Catherine Shearer).

[Catherine Shearer and a patch of Common Milkweed]

Catherine Shearer and a patch of Common Milkweed

Further west down the path into the woods Adrian Bradley has been continuing the effort to smother Japanese Knotweed, listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s worst invasive species. A tarp is in place to smother the large underground network of roots (rhizomes) that keep the plant coming back.

[Japanese Knotweed Invasion]

Japanese Knotweed Invasion

And of course there are the volunteer squirrels planting Walnuts and Oaks in the forest (Daniel Buckles has been helping them out over the years by planting oaks in the forest too). On National Tree Day, September 26, Daniel and Debra Huron facilitated tree planting by three classes of grade threes from St George Elementary School, with contributions so far from Steve Cumbaa, Linda Landreville, Michael Cochrane and funding from the Champlain Park Community Association.

[Volunteer squirrels planting Walnuts and Oaks]

Volunteer squirrels planting Walnuts and Oaks

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