Return to Gladstone Fen
On Sunday, Lorna Gladstone had another of her occasional workdays at Gladstone Fen up in McHenry County. I've blogged about this site a few times before, and in the late 1980s I was even the site steward there.
As you can see from the photos, winter still has a fairly good grip on northern Illinois, though there has been considerable snowmelt in the last couple of days. Lorna and her crew have been clearing a hillside seepage slope on the west side of the preserve. This is exciting to me, because back when I first started visiting, this is a portion of the fen that I never thought would receive active management.
Brush pile awaiting the torch
There were existing brush piles already created when we arrived. The days work consisted of burning a couple of them, and moving the remaining piles onto the burning ones. We wanted to minimize fire scars. We also had a couple of chainsaws cutting down some of the larger invasive trees. The rest of the work crew threw this freshly cut brush onto the fires as well.
Two bonfires, no waiting
This part of Gladstone fen was densely shade and filled with impenetrable brush when I first visited it. It's gratifying to see the first steps to converting it to healthy fen. Most of the trees and brush have been removed. The rest are slated to go.
Signs of spring- the first migrating sandhills of the year
Despite the wintry appearance, we got to see some signs of spring. The first flocks of sandhill cranes were migrating overhead.
The work crew