Town and Village

Green Mountain Conservancy plans Earth Day activities

DUMMERSTON — The Green Mountain Conservancy is inviting everyone to participate in Earth Day activities, such as invasive species removal and hikes, at the Deer Run Nature Preserve.

Participants will join them at the Deer Run Nature Preserve Trailhead (940 Camp Arden Road) on Saturday, April 22, at 10 a.m. and choose the activity that best suits their interests and abilities. Attendees are asked to bring their lunch, snacks, and water.

On the Deer Run Nature Preserve, some well-known invasive plants must be controlled to protect the biodiversity of the Preserve. The two species highlighted this Earth Day are Japanese barberry and glossy buckthorn. Though they are both easily spread by bird- eaten berries, they grow in different places.

While Japanese barberry grows in the understory of rich forests, the glossy buckthorn grows well in poorer open sites, preferring sunlight. Both of these species can become prolific in their preferred environments, to the point of preventing both herbaceous plants and forest tree seedlings from growing, eventually drastically lessening the biodiversity in an area as well as preventing regeneration of forest natural communities.

There are two opportunities on Earth Day to help limit the growth of invasive species at Deer Run:

– Removal (by pulling) of a patch of Japanese barberry in a moderately rich northern hardwood forest. The organizers' goal is to remove a well-established patch so that it will not continue to be a seed source that affects the surrounding high-quality forest dominated by aging Sugar Maples and White Ash. To participate in this activity, join a hike to the monument with naturalist-ecologist Dan Dubie.

– Cutting or pulling glossy buckthorn in a young forest dominated by white pine, black cherry, and blueberry. This forest is just establishing itself, and organizers hope to provide ample room and opportunity for a diversity of native plants to take hold by keeping the buckthorn at bay. GMC directors and other volunteers will be removing invasive glossy buckthorn from the trailhead.

Tools will be provided. Participants may experience a great feeling of satisfaction as they do this work for the future of the forest.

As for options for walks and hikes, an Earth Day Meander with Mary Ellen Copeland in the Deer Run woodland is planned. Visit the lair of the porcupine, see where a bear has scratched on a power pole, learn why the forest floor is covered with pillows and cradles, and why it is not a good idea to tidy up the forest floor.

Roger Haydock, GMC's trail builder, will lead a guided hike with ample descriptions of the geology and natural features of the area. There will be time for discussion and questions.

Dubie will lead a rigorous hike to a rock structure known as “the monument.” Hikers can choose to join the crew working near the monument on barberry invasive removal, take the Shoulder Trail to a magnificent view up the West River Valley, take the Ravine Trail to the meadow, or return to the trailhead.

The public is invited to hike independently or with a group of family and friends on any of the Deer Run trails. There is a large trail map at the trail head and smaller maps that can be taken with hikers.

These activities will leave plenty of time for participants to join in the Earth Day Festival on the Brattleboro Common from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, email [email protected].

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates