I’ll never forget an old friend showing up on my doorstep with a shovel in hand and these simple words: “Let’s get to work.” He had appeared to help with a myriad of projects that all folks living on the land have on-going or in the their back pocket.
Whether a piece or property is a park, recreation area, working ranch or simply the extension of someone’s home, pretty much all land needs restorative work.
For the past 20 years, I have spent my spring and summer seasons hand picking Canadian thistle, a wide-spread, quite persistent weed that still exists here, but I imagine the thistle would be have taken over our meadow area if I hadn’t been on “weed patrol.” It is always easier to control weeds when they are small in number.
Water is a key habitat type on any piece of land, whether a seep, pond, or stream. Keeping the water clean by ensuring that erosion is under control, planting native vegetation to shade and cool the water is important for fish.
Nature has its ways of restoring itself after transformational events such as floods and fires, but sometimes this can be a long process; we can speed up the restoration process through our activities.
Luckily, there are numerous governmental agencies and non-profit organizations that can provide free technical assistance regarding habitat restoration and there are grant sources that can pay for materials, equipment and for travel expenses.
I like what Malcolm Margolin wrote in his nature restoration book, The Earth Manual:
“I don’t pretend that working on wild land is always a picnic. But I expect you’ll find it a lot easier than you think. After all, as long as you are working to bring out the best of your land, your land will be more than willing to cooperate.”