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Volunteers Clear out Invasives at Burns Prairie Preserve Article

Posted on November 27, 2017

Check out the article from Harbor Country News HERE.

GALIEN — There was a lot less invasive autumn olive growing at Chikaming Open Lands’ Burns Prairie Preserve following a Nov. 11 stewardship day.

A group of 10 volunteers removed the plants (which range in size from shrubs to small trees) which can take over an area as they were in the process of doing in a wooded area next to the restored prairie at the 12-acres Chikaming Open Lands (COL) preserve located near Galien.

COL Stewardship Committee Chairman and Board Member Bob Tatina said autumn olive plants produce a fruit that birds eat (and then distribute the seeds  far and wide). They are identified by narrow leaves dark green on the top and silvery white underneath. He noted that while many invasive plants like autumn olive came from overseas, some that are native to the Western Hemisphere have invaded in the other direction.

Tatina showed volunteers how to apply herbicide with a PVC pipe tool tipped with s sponge to the cut off stems after most of the plant had been removed to keep them from growing back.

Loppers, saws and one chainsaw wielded by COL Executive Director Ryan Postema were used to remove the existing autumn olive plants.

Postema said Burns Prairie Preserve was donated by Lloyd and Pat Burns, who still live nearby.

Originally farm and pasture, Postema said the preserve was the site of a prairie restoration project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service several years ago.

“We converted it from an old farm field to a native prairie (with) a couple wetland pond areas,” he said. “The purpose of the restoration was to improve habitat for waterfowl and grassland birds.”

Among the prairie plants that were part of the restoration effort are big blue stem and little blue stem, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower and goldenrod.

While most of the preserve is now tallgrass prairie, there are still a few pockets of woodland including tree lines and a low-lying area that was once a quarry.

Other Chikaming Open Lands preserves include Grand Beach Marsh, Jens Jensen Preserve, Louis J. Sima Great Lakes Marsh, Robinson Woods, Critter Haven, Dayton Wet Prairie, Eleanor O’Connor, Wilson Woods, Flynn Woods, The Woods, Turtle Creek Preserve and The Merritt Family Preserve. COL also holds 29 conservation easements. For more, go to