Team Beargrass Thunder spotted an 8-point buck at the beginning of the Red Maple Trail! We also check out new events in the nature preserve such as new box turtle habitats made from scraps of the LNC Sensory Garden. We also learn about the Emerald Ash Borer and why so many Ash Trees have been removed all around the state.
The deer population in this area is on the rise, and it is not uncommon to be able to see some on your hikes through Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve. We saw a six point buck, probably one or two years old.
Jody talked about the Emerald Ash Borer epidemic and how this species has impacted Ash Trees all over the city. This invasive insect from China has thrived on Ash Trees all over the state. At this point, the majority of mature Ash Trees are dead or dying and can pose a serious danger to anyone unlucky enough to find themselves under a falling branch. Ash trees grow quickly and provide lots of shade, so this type of tree was a go to in urban and suburban areas in the past, but now, not so much.
Lots of time and effort has been spent by communities and city councils for the removal of the trees. While it may not be the best situation, not all hope is lost. Since the Emerald Ash Borer has killed off most of it's only potential habitat, there are less and less of these insects around to kill the Ash Trees. Since these bugs only inhabit mature Ash Trees, the younger saplings who cannot sustain these populations have a fighting chance to replace older Ash Trees.
We also noticed other invasive species of plants thriving in the cold weather. Creeping Charlie, a ground vine that can smother anything attempting to sprout on the ground, as well as climb up and strangle trees made an appearance on our hike. It proves hard to battle since it is one of the only plants in the preserve that continues to grow in the cold winter.
Another invasive plant we saw on our hike was the infamous Bush Honeysuckle from Russia. Rosemary Bauman and the Forest Stewards of the Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve have made serious headway the last couple years battling the invasion of the Honeysuckle, but at the same time are being mindful to replace this layer of the forest they are removing with native plants that are more symbiotic to their surroundings and ecosystem.
We highly recommend checking out the Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve. There's lots to do here with multiple hiking trails, children's nature play area, bird blind, and not to mention the Louisville Nature Center and it's amazing Sensory Garden. We may just see you there!