Adventures in Monitoring

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Ever since school ended a few weeks ago, SOLV’s Green Team staff have been missing our students and teachers terribly.  But we’ve taken on a few projects this summer to keep ourselves busy and they are all well underway, including vegetation and photo-point monitoring of our active Team Up for Watershed Health sites as well as working to maintain native plants with summer student groups.  What IS vegetation monitoring anyway?

For each of our active restoration sites, we have installed rebar stakes at several points throughout the site.  We visit these stakes, or plots, every summer to monitor the area around them for invasive plants and see how our native plants are doing.  We measure a 3 meter radius around the plot and flag all native plants with metal tags and their scientific names for easier identification.  This helps us to figure out what a site needs most in the coming years; if many plants have been stunted by reed canary grass, we will plant more hearty natives that will flourish, as well as coffee bag and mulch all natives to protect them from weed growth. 

We also conduct photo point monitoring on these sites; we pick specific spots around the site that we visit every summer when we are monitoring and take the same picture we took the summer before.  In this way, we can compare this summer’s photos to the ones taken last year and see how the site has changed.  This creates a really good story for our sites and allows us to track its progress as we plant and maintain all of our areas!

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