July 25, 2020
BY Joshua Harkness
For the past several years, we have been helping an old pasture, through which Perry Hill’s primary stream flows, recover to a native meadow interspersed with wetland shrub thickets. Where there used to be nothing but introduced pasture grasses and thickets of multiflora rose and common buckthorn, now there is a diversity of native wildflowers, and willows and dogwoods are quickly reclaiming the streamside. This has not been a passive process, as we have devoted a lot of time and energy to removing invasive plants and replanting native herbaceous and woody plants; recent re-introductions have included, nannyberry, speckled alder, joe-pye weed, cardinal flower, false hellebore, cinnamon fern and royal fern. The meadow provides habitat for countless pollinators, including many of our native solitary bees, while the shrub thickets have attracted many species of birds. In addition to the common yellowthroat warblers and song sparrows which this area has supported for years, now yellow warblers, chestnut-sided warblers, blue-winged warblers, redstarts, woodcocks, indigo buntings and veeries raise their young here. Our plan for this area in the future is to continue to increase the diversity of the meadow, help native shrub thickets recover, and let a few areas grow back into a wetland forest.