There is clearly a growing need for a cooperative volunteer network in the greater Lexington area in order to work on conservation-related matters. The Nature Conservancy, with interested partners, is rekindling its stewardship volunteer program in central Kentucky by focusing on the Griffith Woods site (Harrison County), which we have recently acquired--only 30 minutes drive north of Lexington. That site has the best remnant of ancient woodland in the central Bluegrass region, and it could become a regional base for Nature Conservation and Restoration: research, training, education, propagation of native plants, demonstration of sustainable management, watershed protection, compatible forestry, rotational grazing, wildlife management & viewing.
The Conservancy is working with the University of Kentucky, Ky. State Nature Preserves Commission and others to develop a plan for restoration of this outstanding potential natural area. The volunteer program will be a key ingredient to success. Although initially organized at this site, we hope that this program can grow to include careful cooperation among other conservation organizations in the central Bluegrass region, working equitably at all worthy sites. We also want to explore the potential for partnerships and linking this program to employment/training opportunities (e.g. summer jobs for high school/college interns).
Much urgent work is needed at the Griffith Woods site, including the following potential volunteer activities:
Eradication of alien plant species; Planting native species, especially small trees & shrubs; Trash pickup including cleanup of two small dumps; Trail maintenance (clearing storm damage, and building a small bridge); Collection of dead wood cross-sections for historical research; Seed collection later in year; Preparing a non-profit/cooperative native plant nursery to support regional restoration efforts; and Preparing and managing some areas with ungulates and prescribed fire.
You will also learn a lot about natural history, conservation biology and restoration techniques in the region; there will generally be a educational hike and much relevant discussion during the day.
SCHEDULE: The kick-off day for this program will be on March 29th, 2003; and we will plan MONTHLY work-days throughout the year--on the last Saturday of each month. If you stay on this email list, you will be kept informed at least two weeks before each work-day. On some days, especially in future years, we will probably assign at least part of the volunteer network to other sites in the region.
FULL-DAYS: These will be full-days (rain or shine), from 9 am to 5 pm at the site; but you are welcome to come for just half. Bring picnic lunch and other refreshments; there are no indoor facilities but there are barns for shelter; and the site is 10 minutes drive from Cynthiana, where there are plenty of consumer services.
DIRECTIONS: The entrance to the farm (Silver Lake Farm) is easily found from Lexington--go north for 30 minutes on Russell Cave Road (KY 353) until its end at US 62 (between Georgetown and Cynthiana); turn right onto US 62; enter first drive way on right, about 150 yards from 353. Alternatively, from Interstate 75, exit at Georgetown onto US 62 and go east for about 15 minutes until you see the 353 junction.
WHAT TO BRING: The following items will generally be desirable: lunch/liquid refreshment, work-gloves, work-boots/clothes, a few garbage bags, a straight spade or grubbing hoe, tough loppers or a sharp hand-saw. If you have safe experience with chain-saws, and can bring your own equipment (with hard-hat, goggles, chaps, gloves, boots), please let Julian know.
RESTRICTIONS: Please do NOT visit the farm at other times without permission; it will NOT be open to the public for a few years, but we are making a short-list of trusted leasors, neighbors and special volunteers who will have permission to help us look after the site; stay away from houses; and no pets (or unsupervised children).
FEEDBACK: Please let me know if you want to come to this first day OR if you want to be involved in subsequent events. Please forward this message to others who may be interested (Conservancy members or others). Thanks. Julian Campbell, The Nature Conservancy, 642 West Main, Lexington, KY 40508. Tel: 859 259 9655 (office); 229 7711 (cell); 271 4392 (home); email firstname.lastname@example.org.