LET IT SNOW! Come And Join Us, Snowing Or Not, We Will Still Be Hosting The “National Day Of Service” Volunteer Opportunity At Far Field Nature Preserve

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A LITTLE SNOW WON’T STOP US!  Remember to dress for the weather.  Did you know Martin Luther King Day is also a “National Day Of Service”?  Join us at our next restoration workday, Monday, January 15th from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at our Far Field Nature Preserve.  We will be removing and burning buckthorn and other invasive woody species from the site.

Cutting and burning buckthorn

Cutting and burning buckthorn at Far Field Nature Preserve

We will supply work gloves, loppers and goggles and there will be a bonfire to keep folks warm.  If you have your own equipment, please bring it along as we can always use extra.  The Far Field Nature Preserve is located at County Line (Lake Cook Road) and Old Sutton Roads in Barrington Hills.  The entrance to the site is off of Old Sutton Road.

Please feel free to bring a friend(s) and remember to dress appropriately for the weather.  If you have not volunteered with us before, please take a few minutes to fill out our volunteer form here.

For more information on buckthorn and the adverse impact it has on native plant species, read the Bluestem Ecological Services article below to find out why this invader must be removed in order to make the surrounding plants and trees thrive.

Trees Matter: Help Eradicate Buckthorn

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Guest Article:  Written by Jodi Legieza, Bluestem Ecological Services

View Bluestem’s Video Here!

Common buckthorn is native to Eurasia and was introduced to North America in the 1880’s as an ornamental plant.  Its abundant fruit is dispersed by birds, and it spreads rapidly, replacing native vegetation and lowering native species diversity.

Like many non-native shrubs, common buckthorn leafs out early in spring and retains its leaves late into fall, shading out spring wildflowers and tree seedlings with their canopies.  Buckthorn also alters ecosystem processes in complex ways.  It produces considerable amounts of organic matter, mainly in the form of leaves and woody debris.  The leaves of buckthorn have very high nitrogen (N) content and decompose faster than the leaves of the dominant trees in an Illinois woodland.  During this accelerated decomposition process, beneficial fungi living in the soil are killed in the process.  This fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, actually help the good trees in our environment extract nutrients from the soil.  When the fungi dies so do our native trees, exposing even more soil for more buckthorn seeds to germinate and grow into buckthorn trees.  It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken!   

The above and below ground effects of buckthorn in natural field settings can be devastating.  Both effects are substantial, and researchers were surprised to find that buckthorn contaminated soils inhibit native plant growth as much, or more than, the space their canopies take over above ground  Conservation organizations like BACT are committed to eradicating buckthorn from our ecosystems.  Winter is the best time to cut down buckthorn (and treat their stumps with herbicide or smother the stumps so that the trees don’t grow back).

Visit www.Bluestemeco.com for consultation on buckthorn removal.   Bluestem Ecological Services is a sustainable company that builds, restores and maintains native ecosystems.