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Work at Ives Road Fen Preserve Pays Off


TECUMSEH, MI | November 12, 2010

The Nature Conservancy’s volunteer and staff crew will reach a major milestone at its Ives Road Fen Preserve this Saturday at 8:45 a.m.

After more than 10 years and 40,000 volunteer hours, the last major infestation of invasive buckthorn will be eradicated to a manageable level at the preserve. As a result, people will now see an uninterrupted view from the north end to the south end of the fen, and the freshwater will flow better now.

The preserve contains a rare wetlands area that provides habitat for vegetation and animal life, which are threatened by invasive species like buckthorn. Glossy and common buckthorns are both exotic invasive species that can grow up to 12 feet high and remove shade from native plants, stripping water and sunlight from non-invasive native plants.

“Buckthorn has been a big problem,” said Chris May, stewardship program manager for The Nature Conservancy. “Finishing this part of the job is a huge deal and definitely worthy of a celebration. It is the culmination of about 10 years of labor-intensive, determined effort. Everybody involved deserves kudos and should be proud of what has been accomplished.”

Volunteer Crew Chief Leader Chuck Pearson said people volunteering will walk by buckthorn piles cut in the past “to get a feel for the magnitude of the accomplishment.”

Pearson leads a crew of volunteers every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and finishes every volunteer work day with chocolate chip cookies and refreshments.

The Ives Road Fen Preserve includes:

  • approximately 800 acres of land in southeast Michigan;
  • 100 acres of which is fen, a special type of wetland; and
  • 700 species of plants that have been identified within the preserve.

May said the fen’s overall restoration work is still unfinished, with an additional two to three years of intensive follow-up of buckthorn removal to take place to restore the freshwater functionality at this globally significant habitat. Future projects include native seed planting and the removal of other invasive species like purple loosestrife.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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