If you visited the Conservancy in the last month you will have noticed that a few sections have looked very different. On April 12th under the supervision of our Forestry Supervisor, Mike Jentch, a crew undertook the burning of about 6 acres of prairie in Lac Lawrann, Interpark, and Royal Oaks. People, children especially, wonder why we would do something so invasive to an area of the park that looks like it is doing well. The answer is, it looks like it is doing well because we burn.
But why? There are several reasons why a controlled and well organized burn is undertaken. First, in areas that are managed, a burn removes invasive species such as Canada Thistle, Buckthorn, and Barberry. As these plants are some of the first to come up the burn removes them prior to the natives coming up, therefore giving the natives a better chance. Second, the burning removes a lot of the plant matter that has accumulated during the year allowing seeds to gain better purchase in better soil, as the burn will have returned some plant nutrients back to the soil. Finally, the burn blackens the ground, of course, warming the soil and giving the newly growing native plants a good chance against out fickle weather.
At the Conservancy the prairie is burned in a 3 year rotating schedule so that each section is burned every 3 years. It is amazing seeing the change that can happen in just a months time. Thank you to Mike, Dan, Tim, Kevin, Kurt, and Chris from West Bend Park and Recreation, and Gary, Bob, and Dan from Lac Lawrann Conservancy.