We are dreaming in flowers here at Infirmary Mound Park. Prairie flowers that is! Coneflowers, wild bergamot, coreopsis, milkweeds, asters, and so many more. Fields full of color, wildlife, and pollinators. And now those dreams are becoming a reality.
If you have visited Infirmary Mound Park lately, you may have noticed that the fields just to the west and south of the dog park have been mowed. We are excited to announce that this area will be the location of a prairie habitat improvement project resulting from a new partnership between the Licking Park District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Vegetation will be removed from the area through the careful application of herbicide this fall, starting the week of Sept. 16th. In the late winter/early spring the roughly 15 acres will be planted with the seeds of 34 wildflower species and 7 native warm season grasses.
Grassland habitats in Ohio include prairies, pastures, meadows, and old fields. They support a large variety of plant and wildlife species and unfortunately are one of the habitat types that show the greatest amount of habitat loss. The new habitat at Infirmary Mound Park will provide critical habitat for pollinators, migratory grassland birds and other local wildlife species. In addition, it will provide accessible learning opportunities for our park programming and a beautiful landscape to relax in for our many visitors who use the trails.
This project also gives us an opportunity to monitor the changes in wildlife that occur! Citizen scientist volunteers began butterfly monitoring this year. This monitoring will continue annually, allowing us to determine if our habitat changes have helped attract new species. Monitoring projects will also include bird, Odonata (dragonflies), and iNaturalist inventories. If you are interested in volunteering in the future contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Karen Jennings, at email@example.com to get started!
This area is intended as a first phase, with other areas of Infirmary Mound Park scheduled to be improved in the future.