One of the joys of Phase 3, is being able to expand our circle just a bit. On Saturday, Marty Kemper made the trek to DuBois Center to check out a number of areas around camp. If you have never met Marty, you are missing out. He is a biologist who recently retired from the Dept of Natural Resources. An avid birder, he is a founding member of the Green DuBois team and a long-time DuBois Center earth care volunteer.
The new grass and the accompanying weeds on the back side of the dam are growing. Now that a section of the trees and brush have been removed for the new spillway, we are developing a plan to keep the new growth under control. Some of this growth is very good, but some of it is definitely not. Pictured here is the stump of an Ash tree with new shoots. It needs to be cut back and the stump treated. Also pictured is a close-up of Spreading Dogbane, also found on the dam. It’s a keeper! This beautiful native plant is not especially common on our property, or anywhere in Illinois for that matter. In fact, this was the first time Marty had seen this specific variety.
Its close cousin, Hemp Dogbane, also known as Indian Hemp, is prolific at DuBois Center. The name of Indian Hemp comes from the fibrous strength of the stem. It was harvested by native peoples and used as twine or woven into rope and other items. One reason this is such a “good” plant, is its value as a rich source of nourishment for pollinators. Monarch butterflies love it!
As southern Illinois begins to slowly re-open, we hope to encourage small groups of volunteers to take on projects, such as the dam. Watch for details.