by Pam Willison

Bruce Tannehill mixing hard work with a smile – photo by Pam Willison

It’s always a good feeling to have a “to-do list” and to be able to cross off every item.  On Saturday, October 1, 18 volunteers made that happen in Owen Sowerwine.  They volunteered a total of 54 hours and enjoyed some camaraderie, some sunshine and beautiful fall colors, and the satisfaction of helping to get a variety of jobs done during the Fall Work Day.

Gael and Kay hunted and bagged the seed heads of houndstongue and Canada thistle in the interior of the Education Trail.  Will, Cindy, Tom, and Cory did the heavy lifting by cutting open and clearing the fence line in the south-west corner of Owen Sowerwine.  Darcy, Rob, Ronda, and Pam used hoes and shovels to clear vegetation from the kiosk area and the edges of the ADA trail that leads to the viewing bench.  Bruce worked near the Treasure Lane entrance to clear and stack some vegetation along the west boundary to make it easier to access for weed control. Denny led a crew that included Andrea, Keanu, Devin, and Michelle and did some maintenance on two study areas.  In one area we are looking at the effects of white-tail deer browsing on cottonwood seedlings, and in the second we are comparing hand pulling to chemical spraying of seedlings of invasive common buckthorn.  Bridger and Shannon traveled the furthest as they visited each of the bird nesting boxes to clear them so they will be ready for spring nesting. Along the way, they collected several bags of houndstongue and Canada thistle seed heads. They also discovered that one of the nesting boxes was swept away in the spring flooding of the Stillwater River.

Thanks so much to the volunteers for donating their time and their hard work to keeping Owen Sowerwine in good shape. The birds and human visitors will enjoy the benefits of your efforts. It’s a beautiful time of year in Owen Sowerwine, so be sure you stop by for a visit.