Wayne Siebenaler

Date of volunteer work: 02/27/2016.
Site Name: Mitchell Creek.
Number of hours worked: 2.
Species removed: English Ivy, Holly, Foxglove, Vinca, Armenian Blackberry.
Estimated percent cover before removal?.
Approximate square feet of invasives removed?.

I began by sweeping the flagged section – south side of Vradenburg Road – looking for vinca, which I knew would be flowering. As expected, many of the vinca were flowering, which made them easier to spot, particularly the ones growing under the sword ferns. Next, I worked my way up the south slope above the flagged section. On the slope, I found and weeded a holly and a foxglove, in addition to a couple of small ivy plants. I spent the remainder of my time weeding Armenian blackberries, working my way up hill. (This had been the first time I worked the slope, as there are plenty of blackberry vines on the flat section.)

I noted that the stinging nettle is a foot tall, and that the Salmon berries are blooming. I also observed two Steller’s Jays, a Spotted Towhee, Pacific Wren, Song Sparrow, and a Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

After weeding, I hiked further up the slope. I went about 300 feet to where a large maple, and an equally large cedar tree, grew side-by-side atop of an elongated mound. Upon further inspection, I surmised the mound was an ancient nurse log.

The slope was clean of weeds beyond where I had been uprooting blackberries. However, near the two trees, I discovered a section of an extension ladder partially buried in the forest’s duff. I recovered the ladder from its illegitimate grave and carried it down the slope to the road below.

I often end my time at Mitchell Creek by walking up Vradenburg Road to scout for weeds and illegal dumpings. The hike up the road from where I park my car to the natural area’s upper boundary and back takes about 30 minutes. I have found plenty of outlandish dumpings on previous treks, but on this trip it was just your run-of-the-mill garbage, for example: bags of carrots and piles of onions; plumbing pipes and plastics; old tires and children’s toys; Christmas trees and condoms. Sheesh!

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