|A major challenge at Somme (and so many natural areas) is too many deer.|
These beautiful animals are a natural and valuable part of the ecosystem.
But in the absence of predation excessive numbers can badly damage the habitat for many other species.
|Our inter-seeded former pastures are now much richer than areas where we cut the brush and seeded bare soil.|
|We walked through dense patches: smooth phlox, then New Jersey tea, then prairie clover.|
A week later, many of today's flowers will be replaced by maturing seeds.
Years later, many of these patches will have spread out and mingled with each other.
Michigan lily can be found in woodland, savanna, or prairie. In times of lower deer populations,
a single stem may have ten or twenty blooms. This year most had just one - a barometer of deer numbers.
|One of the three tour groups that contributed ideas to this post.|
They are pioneers - as are all of us involved in the early years of the discipline of ecosystem conservation.
Post script: Other interesting plants in bloom along the trail today: glade mallow (Napaea dioica), great St.Johnswort (Hypericum pyramidatum), pale Indian plantain (Cacalia atriplicafolia), prairie Indian plantain (Cacalia tuberosa), winged loosestrife (Lithrum alatum), prairie loosestrife (Lysimachia quadriflora), and fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata).
(Our apologies for not-the-latest scientific names in some cases.)