Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making Room for the Best

On Monday nights, we usually have a family night that consists of a short message, an activity, and usually a snack. We decided to invite some friends for our family night this week and met at Woodlawn Nature Center to work on some invasive species there.

We started by pulling out some invasive species--in this case creeping myrtle (also known as periwinkle or vinca) and bush honeysuckle. While these are both pretty plants, they take over an area and don't allow space for native plants to flourish.

Later, we started a fire with permission from Woodlawn Nature Center's director. This is a perk of membership--being able to having fires at the site. It's even free if you let others join you, but there weren't others knocking down the trees to join us.

While waiting on the fire, the boys started exploring all the insects in nearby logs--they were full of decomposers at work!

Then we had a short message based on "Good, Better, and Best"--there are many good things we can do in life (just as there are plants), but sometimes we need to look for the best we should be doing (or planting or allowing). In the case of invasive species, many of these do not allow the better or best plants to grow in the area. Some even send a type of toxin in the ground that makes it so other plants cannot grow. INPAWS has information to share about these species in making better or best decisions.

Then it was time for s'mores!

While an hour's work doesn't clear a forest, I could tell a difference in this area when I returned today. If more families and groups help pitch in, the impact on the forest would be tremendous. And it can be fun! The boys enjoyed meeting their friends, we knew we were helping nature in our area, and we even had treats. This was the BEST thing for us to do tonight. There are opportunities to help at natural spaces all over the area. There are scheduled stewardship days, but we can also arrange moments like this through our own initiative. How have you helped nature lately?