Crooked Branch Ravine Park – A Place Worth Protecting

Looks like this Sunday will be a good day to RIP some English ivy in this little park.   Cutting the ivy at the base of trees  is beneficial to the tree and prevents spread of the seed to other places.  This plant only forms flower, fruit and seed after climbing a vertical surface.   Birds then spread the seed to other sites.  You could prevent the sprouting of hundreds of new plants in other places with a few clips of your pruners!  Let’s get as much as we can before it fruits later this summer.  You can also help this park and others in Richmond it you do this in your own yard!

We will even take a break and do a little exploring if you are interested.

  • Sunday,  June 13 from 1 – 3 p.m.
  • If you can only stay an hour, that’s OK. Every hour counts.
  • Bring gloves, hand clippers & a small saw if you have one.    An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for prying vines away from the tree so they are easier to cut.
  • Bring your own water bottle and insect repellent.
  • We will meet in the cul de sac at the end of Northrop Street.

Map to meeting site

drawing, robin

Invasive Plant Removal: Why does your local watershed group think this is important?

Crooked Branch Ravine Park acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water and keeping it where it falls.  It is also home to many native plants that support wildlife, including warblers and other song birds on their long migrations.

CBR map
The circle indicates the approximate location of Crooked Branch Ravine Park.

Protecting areas like this will help keep the rain where it falls and help improve water quality; this need is great in urban areas with lots of impervious surface.   Unfortunately, this little park has many non-native, invasive plants and over time they will threaten the tree canopy (natures’ best invention for capturing rain water).  And, as native species are lost so is the diversity that supports wildlife.

This is important work. We would appreciate your help.  Looks like the weather will be great!

  • Sunday,  May 9  1 – 3 p.m.  or as long as you can stay.
  • Bring gloves and your own tools: hand clippers, lopers, a saw or other tool you prefer.  An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Please bring your own water and consider some insect repellent also.
  • Bring a friend!

NOTE

  • Bring a mask.  It may not be necessary but please have one available if there is the need.
  • There is plenty of room for social distancing.

Map to meeting site

INVASIVE PLANT REMOVAL: CROOKED BRANCH RAVINE PARK

Reedy Creek and a small tributary, Crooked Branch, flow through Crooked Branch Ravine Park.  This small, passive park is home to many native trees, shrubs, and perennials that could be lost to advancing invasive plant species, particularly English ivy and privet.

Please come help so that our native plant species can thrive.  To thank you for coming we will have available 2 species of native plants to give away,  Monarda fistulosa and Boltonia asteroides, available on a first come, first served basis.

  • Sunday, April 18 from 1 – 3 p.m.
  • We will meet at the end of Northrop Street where there is a path into the park.
  • Map to meeting place
  • Bring gloves, pruners, and, if you have one, a small saw for cutting large ivy vines.
  • Only have an hour to spare?  That’s quite alright.  Every little bit helps.

The area where we will be working has oak, hickory, maple, black gum, fringe trees,  wintergreen, cranfly orchids, and other native species.  The diversity of species in just this small area speaks to the value of this park.

chimaphila-maculata-spotted-wintergreen-flower-with-ivy
Striped wintergreen will soon be overcome by English ivy.

Crooked Branch Ravine Park – A Place Worth Protecting

We’ve noticed that more people have been visiting Crooked Branch Ravine Pare recently and we hope that some of you might be interested in helping us improve this lovely spot.

Looks like this Sunday will be a good day for removing English ivy.  We will be cutting the vines at the base of the trees and removing ivy from the ground.  Keeping the vines off trees is beneficial to the tree and prevents spread of the seed to other places.  This plant only forms flower, fruit and seed after climbing a vertical surface.   Birds then spread the seed to other sites.  You could prevent the sprouting of hundreds of new plants in other places with a few clips of your pruners!

We would love to show you the progress we have made and will even take a break for a little winter tree ID walk if you are interested.

  • Sunday,  March 14. 2021 from 1 – 3 p.m.
  • There is plenty of room to spread out when working, but we do require a mask for when we are near each other.
  • If you can only stay an hour, that’s OK. Every hour counts.
  • Bring gloves, hand clippers or loppers,  & a small saw if you have one. An old screwdriver is  sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Bring your own water bottle.

Map to meeting site

drawing, robin

Natures’ Best Hope

Native plants, especially trees and woody shrubs,  are the best way to reduce storm water runoff and therefore improve water quality.  That is why reducing lawn to make room for these plants as well as perennials is so important.  So why does our organization suggest using native plants?

That question is answered best by watching Natures’ Best Hope, a presentation by Dr. Doug Tallamy available on YouTube,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY4aV5hqkxY.  We recommend this for adults and older children; some young children might enjoy the images of insects.  Make it a movie night for the family. 

Dr. Tallamy’s book by the same name is highly recommended.  The Virginia Native Plant Society has this to say about his book by the same name:

“Tallamy’s explanations of the specialized relationships among plants, insects, and animals are fascinating stories, but also foundational building blocks for understanding the natural world we live in, whether we live in the city, the country, or anywhere between.”  

If you watch the presentation you may enter a drawing to win a native plant. The presentation itself lasts for about an hour and that is all you need to watch to enter the drawing.  The remainder of the video (Q&A and other things) is optional.  

Two native plant species, spicebush (Lindera bezoin) and ironwood (Carpinus caroliniana) , have been donated by Reedy Creek Environmental, a local native plant nursery.  These plants are local ecotype and have been propagated from seed collected in James River Park under a strict permit.  

After watching the presentation, e-mail reedycreekcoalition@gmail.com to enter the drawing.  Please indicate the species you prefer in the subject line.  Drawing will be on February 14th because we love native plants!

Invasive Plant Removal: Why does your local watershed group think this is important?

Crooked Branch Ravine Park acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water and keeping it where it falls.  It is also home to many native plants that support wildlife, including warblers and other song birds on their long migrations.

CBR map
The circle indicates the approximate location of Crooked Branch Ravine Park.

Protecting areas like this will help keep the rain where it falls and help improve water quality; this need is great in urban areas with lots of impervious surface.   Unfortunately, this little park has many non-native, invasive plants and over time they will threaten the tree canopy (natures’ best invention for capturing rain water).  And, as native species are lost so is the diversity that supports wildlife.

This is important work. We would appreciate your help.  Looks like the weather will cooperate with us this time!

  • Sunday,  November 15 from  1 – 3 p.m.  or as long as you can stay.
  • Bring gloves and your own tools: hand clippers, lopers, a saw or other tool you prefer.  An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Please bring your own water.
  • Bring a friend!

NOTE

  • You must bring a mask and must wear it when you are anywhere near others.
  • There is plenty of room for social distancing.   We would prefer that people work 15 feet or further apart.
  • Tools will not be shared.

Map to meeting site

Volunteers Needed for Planting in Forest Hill Park

Reedy Creek Coalition and Friends of Forest Hill Park will be planting shrubs and some trees around the lake in Forest Hill Park on Saturday, November 7.  We will begin at 0900 and expect to be finished by 1200. 

  • Saturday, Nov 7 0900-1200
  • Meet at the gazebo down by the lake.
  • A mask is required and must be worn when you are anywhere near others.
  • Bring your own gloves.
  • Tools provided for the planting.

Our planting list includes all native species.  The goal is to help reduce erosion as well as provide habitat and food sources for our park critters.  

  • Button Bush
  • Arrowwood viburnum
  • Gray dogwood
  • Bay Berry
  • Spice bush
  • Sycamore
  • Swamp rose
  • Alder

In addition we will be planting several American chestnut cultivars in another area of the park.

All images are from https://www.wildflower.org/plants-main

Please let us know if you will attend.  Just add your name below and send.  Your e-mail is optional but will allow us to contact you should there be any changes.

Thanks to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities for their support!

Invasive Plant Removal: Why does your local watershed group think this is important?

Project cancelled for today – too wet and chilly. Looking forward to a good day for work soon.  

Crooked Branch Ravine Park acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water and keeping it where it falls.  It is also home to many native plants that support wildlife, including warblers and other song birds on their long migrations.

CBR map
The circle indicates the approximate location of Crooked Branch Ravine Park.

Protecting areas like this will help keep the rain where it falls and help improve water quality; this need is great in urban areas with lots of impervious surface.   Unfortunately, this little park has many non-native, invasive plants and over time they will threaten the tree canopy (natures’ best invention for capturing rain water).  And, as native species are lost so is the diversity that supports wildlife.

This is important work. We would appreciate your help.

  • Sunday,  October 25 from 1 – 3 p.m.  or as long as you can stay.
  • Bring gloves and your own tools: hand clippers, lopers, a saw or other tool you prefer.  An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Please bring your own water.
  • Bring a friend!

NOTE

  • You must bring a mask and must wear it when you are anywhere near others.
  • There is plenty of room for social distancing.   We would prefer that people work 15 feet or further apart.
  • Tools will not be shared.

Map to meeting site

The Rusty Patched Bumblebee

One of our previous posts about bees featured a wonderful video, A Ghost in the Making ,about this bee and now there is an article in the Virginia Mercury.

Virginia’s vanishing bee: State works to save rusty patched bumblebee

It’s not certain what has caused the dramatice decline our native rusty patched bumblebee and many other creatures, but we do know that human activity is the primary cause.  The plants we choose and the products we use in our yards make a big difference to the other creatures we share our world with.  If you have not yet seen the previous posts about bees please take a look now.

Let’s make our watershed a great place to live.

 

Providing Housing for our Native Bees

Bees and all other critters need the same things we do:  food, housing for the family, and a safe place to live. Urban landscapes are often missing housing, a critical component.  You may be surprised at where some of them raise their young!  Please view this short video with beautiful images of a few native bees and the information on nesting resources.

You can help ensure diversity here in our own neighborhood by providing housing for native bees.  Many of our bees are solitary and need hollow plant stems or dead wood; some need only  a small patch of bare ground.  Most of our urban landscapes do not provide housing for native bees, but they should and it is easy to do.  Please note that ground nesting bees should not be feared since they are docile and solitary.  Please do not think of them as you do a swarm of aggressive yellow jackets.  Ground nesting bees usually build nests in the spring.  Click the image for more information. 

Mining Bee Nest

Did you know that it is possible to do harm by providing a bee house?  If not properly designed and maintained, bee houses can spread disease or make the larvae more accessible to predators.  If properly designed and cared for, bee houses can be beneficial and they provide an opportunity to observe bees.   Please read this before deciding to provide a nest box.

Want to learn more about our native bees?  We are offering a hardcopy of this booklet about our native bees to five people who live in or near the Reedy Creek Watershed and have read the Nesting Resources link and viewed the video. Names will be drawn on May 16 . Use our contact form to get your name in the hat.  Comment BOOKLET.  (The booklet is also availabe for download if you prefer.)

This post is dedicated to the memory of our friend and one of the founders of Reedy Creek Coalition, Robin Ruth. Her dying wish was “save the bees”, but we think she meant much more than that. Bees were just her project at the time. Robin cared deeply for the natural world from the soil teeming with life to the tops of the trees and every living thing between. We plan a series of posts with information about bees, birds, butterflies and perhaps other critters that need our help.