When people think of the Nature Preserve, they often picture the forest or the Woodland Garden in their mind’s eye. But don’t forget the meadows which are a world unto themselves!Meadowlark Meadow in the front of the Preserve, was transformed a pasture into a native prairie with a grant from Toyota several years ago. We do controlled burns when needed to keep the invasive plants under control, while mowed paths allow visitors to stroll into the middle of the meadow. New interpretive signs have just been put up to help people recognize and appreciate the flowers, pollinators and birds which might be found there.
Tiger Swallowtail on Joe Pye Weed
Since CMNP is a certified Monarch Way Station, we plant lots of milkweed, for the monarchs and other insects such as this milkweed beetle. The meadows beyond the Frog Pond don’t have a name yet, but those 25 acres add to the diversity of the Nature Preserve.
Native grasses provide many benefits, such as shelter and nutrition to wildlife and birds, which non-native grass and crops do not. Native bunch grasses grow upright with spaces between each bunch. This growth form makes them ideal wildlife habitat —providing protective cover, quality nesting areas, and open travel lanes. In addition, once established, these grasses are more nutritious for wildlife than nonnative grasses such as fescue. Animals commonly found in such communities include quail, deer, rabbit, turkey, migratory songbirds, and small mammals such as voles and mice. The rabbits and small mammals in turn attract larger predators such as fox, coyote, and raptors.