There are a great number of new things happening at Bouverie Preserve right now and I would love to fill you all in!
About two weeks ago the Bouverie Stewards helped move the remaining parts of Bouverie that were to be saved before demolition. Among those things were a bunch of t-posts, some flower pots, the mountain lion equipment, a large obsidian rock in front of Gilman Hall, and most importantly, our favorite Egret statue, which managed to partially survive the fire. I would like to think the egret will one day be placed in the new building as a memory and tribute to our community’s history. The native grasses next to Gilman Hall were caution-taped to prevent access of trucks and tractors, as were the obelisks and a big cool rock in front of Jeanne’s home. At the end of that day I saw Kurt taping-up that rock. “You like that rock?” I asked. “You see this rock?” He pointed. “Don’t let them take this rock.” Aye-aye, captain.
Last week demolition began and some of the stewards, including myself, travelled to Toms Point to remove ice plant. Not an easy task, but the view was unbeatable. Jen Potts brought her son Toby as well. The first words of his when we got out to the water were “Three otters!” I turned my head in excitement to see three bobbing buoys. I looked back at him to see a big 7-year old grin. What a little turkey. It was a hard day full of fun and good work. We all hiked back to the cars much slower than when we came in! A group of volunteer arborists from Armstrong Woods were at Bouverie that same day. They were able to clear 8 big hazard trees around the trails. That’s another step towards getting our education program underway!
I have been working with Kurt Heffernon (Land Steward) to get Bouverie’s pool back up and running. It is looking about 95% now I am happy to announce. Thanks to a generous donation of a 5000w generator, we were able to have an electrician connect the pool pump to electricity. Also, thanks to Judy (one of our Stewards and a Docent) the roses around the pool have been pruned and loved.
There are two big honky white birds, who you may recognize, waddling around on top of the bell tower now. The geese are back! I see them every day now. Also, here is a quick update on the wildflowers I have seen blooming at the preserve so far: Milkmaids, Shooting Stars, Death Camas/Zigadene/Star Lily, Common Blennosperma, Wood Anemone, Meadowfoam, and Miner’s Lettuce. The flower-diversity bull has just begun to kick dirt from under his feet! I’m expecting a big charge as a result of the burn.
I have been able to get around the preserve much easier now thanks to the donation of a brand-new shiny blue Mule! Our old off-road work vehicle got burned up, which has helped me burn quite a bit more calories at work. This new one is quite the machine. I don’t think I have driven it yet without a dorky smile.
I was contacted by the Watershed Stewardship Program, based out of Windsor, who works with Americorps to improve the health of riparian zones. They asked me if they could organize a volunteer day dedicated to riparian restoration around Stewart Creek. I told them that our creek is actually doing very well at the moment, but while I have you on the line how do you feel about trail maintenance? Long story short, the connector trail needs a ton of work done, and doing that work would significantly prevent erosion into the creek. I took a walk with their coordinators along the trail, and they agreed to help us out! Saturday March 31, as of now, is the date for the volunteer day. The work will be hard and heavy. However, if any of you are seriously interested on doing some butt-kicking trail work along the Connector Trail (Bouverie Stewards I know you’re already skipping around) feel free to contact Katy Abbott from the Watershed Stewards Program. Her email is: Kathleen.firstname.lastname@example.org
I got to go on a short hike with about 20 docents led by Jeanne Wirka the other day. Some of these docents had over 25 Bouverie years under their belt. I got assigned to the caboose. I slowly trailed behind and got to watch the beautiful sight of these docents come back to this wonderful place we have all loved together. To say the least, it was a refreshing moment I had been longing to have.
Yesterday I attended the 2018 Docent Graduation. What a great new class we have coming in! I was pleased to see that the warm, goofy, curious, and inspirational energy I have known docents to have is of no shortage in this group.
The demolition of buildings at Bouverie Preserve has been happening quickly. I walked through today, unsure of how I felt about the blank slab foundation of which Gilman Hall once stood proudly. I walked up above to the obelisks and peeked inside for any early-riser rattlers. There were none, and I stepped inside. Here a docent once told me that David Bouverie encouraged arriving and departing visitors to close their eyes and make a wish, or perhaps just a thought, with their hand atop the metal post. And just like I did that spring day in 2003, and some many days following, I made a wish.
Not everything burns, I guess.
Now go hug a tree,