Volunteer Day – Plum Run Prairie Invasive Workday

Sunday, May 5, 2019 – Cancelled

From 10 am to mid-afternoon. Meet at Plum Run Preserve (directions below)

Free Lodging available at the Arc’s Volunteer Headquarters. Please inquire when you register.

Registration

Our Workday.

Plum Run Prairie is an exceptional prairie worth saving.  It is one of the larger prairies remaining in the state, and one of the few such large tracts found in southern Ohio. This site has been officially listed with the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves as one of the top 40 sites worthy of protection in all of Ohio. At 140 acres, with at least forty acres pristine, and the remaining acres in the farm coming back into prairie even without intentional management, this site has the potential to be among the largest tall grass prairies in Ohio.

Our goal is to maintain these prairie lands as natural habitat for the plethora of species that thrive here.  Dotting the open fields are numerous Allegheny Mound Ant colonies, a signature species of the prairie. One of the prairie’s many rare butterfly species is the Edwards’ Hairstreak, which feeds on young scrubby oaks. Completely dependent on these ants, the nearly helpless caterpillars are guided up the trees by the ants to graze during the day, and escorted back to the colony beneath the ground at night to protect them from predators. Without having prairie habitat to provide secure homes for the mound building ant, the rare Edwards’ Hairstreak could possibly perish from the earth.  Our job will be to remove the invasive plants, such as autumn olive, before they become too established and dominate the area.    

Leader: Tim Pohlar

Tim Pohlar is the Arc’s Land Stewardship and Volunteer Manager.  He is passionate about nature preservation and fell in love with the mission of the Arc from the day he first visited the website back in 2004, at that time it was only the Highlands Nature Sanctuary.  He started out as an intern, then worked as a seasonal staff for a few years after that, then was a full time staff, and lived throughout Sanctuary, from a tent by Talodon Pond, to an old farm house out on Rt 50, and many places in between.  In 2010, Tim met a wonderful lady, Miriam, and decided that fate was leading them into sustainable agriculture, so the two of them moved to La Crosse, WI, where they were married and had two little girls.  The lived and worked on the family’s organic dairy farm for 8 years.  In this time, Tim gained a vast range of skills and views of the world that helped give him a much more rounded understanding of land management and preservation, and the intersections of farming and preservation.  Through a series of fateful events, Miriam and Tim, and their girls, Rose and Quinn, have returned to continue their work and passion with the Arc.  They are excited to further the mission of the Arc and work with the many wonderful people that come together to make it all possible!

Lunch is on us!

Your leader will be providing you with lunch for the day. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.

Plum Run Prairie’s Natural History

Vanishing Tall-grass Prairies. Tall-grass Prairies are remnant communities from drier geologic periods when the mid-western prairies fingered eastward as far as Ohio. They retreated westward when more moisture-laden times returned — leaving grassland islands behind. When people of European descent settled Ohio in the early 1800’s, tall- grass prairies were found primarily in west-central Ohio. It is extremely rare to find a tall-grass prairie in southern Ohio, and Plum Run Prairie may be the largest to exist in Ohio’s Appalachian counties, indeed even one of the largest left in the entire state.

Preserving Ohio prairies is extremely important. The genetic dance in the Eastern continent between the native prairie and the native hardwood forest is an ancient climate-driven duet that cannot continue unless the species of both dance partners are guaranteed a place of refuge. Because tall-grass prairies build up rich soils, agricultural pressures have permanently destroyed nearly all of the original prairie lands, making North America’s tall-grass prairies the most imperiled of our country’s primary ecosystems — much more so than even our native forests. Once a prairie soil is disturbed with a plow, it rarely comes back on its own. Both tall-grass and short-grass prairies, the latter even rarer in the East, are extremely diverse in plant and animal species — with numbers rivaling that of the deciduous forest. To save Ohio’s rainbow of biodiversity, there is no act more productive than to save a prairie.

Physical Requirements

No invasive removal experience is necessary for this work day, and the tasks do not take a lot of physical endurance nor strength. Garlic mustard plucking in the spring requires only light bending at the waist, since the garlic mustard grows almost to hip height and pulls out of the ground easily. Sawing or cutting  invasive woody shrubs and canes at their bases does require squatting close to the ground, so workers on this task need flexibility and good joints. We will be applying herbicide in small quantities to the cut stems of the woody invasives, Volunteers will be trained in safe application.

What to Bring

Bring a bottle of drinking water, and, if you are coming to remove woody plants and do not have prescription glasses, bring a pair of sunglasses for eye protection. We also recommend wearing footwear with a good tread, and a brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face. In the fall, our meadows are filled with various “stick-tight” seeds, so be sure not to wear fleece or other fuzzy fabrics. The smoother the fabric the better. If you have your own clippers, garden gloves with rubber coated protection, and light handsaws, bring them along. If you don’t, we can share our tools with you. Poison ivy will not be a major problem in the fall or early spring since the leaves are not out  However, if you are extra sensitive to this allergen, it’s best to stay out of the meadows any time of the year, and we recommend that you choose projects that work primarily in the forest and stay out of the meadows. Bugs should not be a problem.

Questions?

Please contact Tim Pohlar at tpohlar@arcofappalachia.org or call 937-365-1935.

Directions

Plum Run Preserve, 714 Mendenhall Road, Peebles, OH 45660

Off of Route 32, south on Mendenhall Road, just east of Peebles, OH 45660.

Directions from Columbus to Plum Run
Plum Run Preserve is approximately 90 miles from outer-belt 270. To Begin: Get on the 270 outer-belt around Columbus and head south. Exit on SR 23 and head south through Circleville. Use the right 2 lanes to take the US 23 S exit toward Waverly/US 50 W/Portsmouth. Continue on US-23 South for approximately 20 miles. Outside of Piketon, use the right lane to take OH-32/OH-124 ramp to Jackson/Cincinnati. Turn right onto OH-32 W/OH-124 W. Stay on OH-32 W for approximately 33 miles. Turn left onto Mendenhall Road. 

Directions from Cincinnati to Plum Run
Plum Run Preserve is approximately 60 miles from outer-belt 275. To Begin: Get on the 275 outer-belt around Cincinnati and go to to the Newtown area (southeast corner of 27. If 275 were a clock the exit would be at 5:00). Exit on Route 32, the Appalachian Highway. Follow 32 east approximately 51 miles. Turn right onto Mendenhall Road.

the rare Edwards' Hairstreak butterfly
Dotting the open fields are numerous Allegheny Mound Ant colonies, a signature species of the prairie.
Plum Run Prairie is one of only three remaining sites where you can find the Plantago cordata, or heart-leaved plantain, an extremely endangered plant.
Plum Run Prairie is one of only three remaining sites where you can find the Plantago cordata, or heart-leaved plantain, an extremely endangered plant.
Plum Run Prairie is one of only three remaining sites where you can find the Plantago cordata, or heart-leaved plantain, an extremely endangered plant.
Plum Run Prairie is one of only three remaining sites where you can find the Plantago cordata, or heart-leaved plantain, an extremely endangered plant.