Today was a really great day,
we went out with a wonderful Forest service plant ecologist named Marty Stein and group of young adults to learn more about dunes restoration and to help eradicate a pretty nasty invasive species called European beach grass. This grass usually clumps together creating a big blockage preventing the normal movement of sand and disturbs the natural cycle for these beautiful dunes. When the sand gets caught up it takes away from areas where native grasses and builds up larger and larger dunes. Native grasses like bluegrass and American beach grass like to have a little more space in between different themselves and actually grow better when there is more disturbance of sand. So going out to remove the invasives opens up space for natives to enter and establish. It was great to learn more in-depth which plants settle first and create sort of get an area ready for other plants to arrive.
I could really feel the morale in the group, we were going to eradicate so much beach grass and we did! We also made friends with a Purple Finch, this little bird kept walking near us to eat the beetles and other insects that would be uprooted and disturbed after we pulled the beach grass up. I was so surprised that this bird was walking so close to us ! It even landed on somebody’s hand (sadly it wasn’t me)! It figured that this was a buffet it was not going to miss. We took a stroll to learn about some of the native plants with Marty, the trail we went on lead us to some really great dunes and we got to see a ghost forest. Which is remnants of ancient forests that through a natural process were engulfed by sand slowly killing the trees.