Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tomer Nature Reserve in Murrysville, PA

Pia, of the Friends of Murrysville Parks, led a wonderful walk through the seventeen - acre Tomer Nature Reserve of the Westmoreland Conservancy this fine Saturday morning. Pia is a naturalist and has been facilitating an appreciation of all plants that are native to Western PA and the removal of exotic invasive species at Duff Park in Murrysville for ten years. Pia pointed out many beautiful plants that we want to keep in our wooded and prairie areas of our landscapes including Joe Pye Weed and Milkweed for butterflies and bees, Mayapple, Native Dogwood, Oak saplings, Blackberries and many more species.
Pia also pointed out and pulled out many exotic invasive plants. According to the colorful flyer Pia handed me following the hike, titled, "Help Murry the Squirrel Stomp Out Invasive Plants in Murrysville Parks," these invasives include Garlic Mustard, Bush Honeysuckle, Japanese and Giant Knotweed, Japenese Stilt Grass, Burning Bush, Barberry, Japanese Honeysuckle Vine, Multiflora Rose, and Tree of Heaven. We learned to identify almost all of these species and learned even in a nature reserve it is fine to remove these species from the reserve because they do not belong there.
Exotic invasive species choke out the native species by competing with them for basic soil nutrients, sunlight and water. Pia described how Japanese Stilt Grass uses a huge amount of water and grows so dense that native saplings are unable to germinate.
I enjoyed this hike with several others who reside in and around Murrysville and look forward to Pia's visit to Monroeville to educate us too! Thanks so much Pia, Buck the trailblazer, and the others too... Elisa Beck

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