Merrimac Farm Spring Work Day

Spring is here a little early and Prince William Conservation Alliance members kicked it off with another fun and productive volunteer work day at the Merrimac Farm landscape conservation project and the Stone House.

Last Saturday (3/10/2012), volunteers tore down the old fascia boards on the front porch of the house and put up new fascia. New rain gutters were also installed.

In the back in the conservation project, trenches were dug for the corrugated flex pipe that was laid to connect the two rain barrels that were set up; there will be a third rain barrel installed in the coming weeks. The water collected in the rain barrels will be used to water the plantings in the landscape project.

The native plants that were planted last October easily survived the mild winter. Serviceberry, coneflower, wild ginger and columbine are already sending out new green shoots. During the course of the work, a bald eagle was spotted conducting a flyover of the farm.

The old French family cemetery was inspected by several PWCA members. There are seven grave stones visible among the blooming periwinkle. The grave stones are just far enough off the trail, that the periwinkle was required as a landmark to locate the cemetery. PWCA member Jeff Irwin, an archeologist, is excited about the prospect of rehabilitating the cemetery by locating the stones, piecing them together, and mapping the plot.

The purpose of the Merrimac project is to enhance wildlife habitat, reduce pollution and conserve water on the property by planting the area around the Old Stone House entirely in native plants. This project expands natural areas to reduce the invasion of non-native grasses and increases the variety of food and habitat sources to welcome a wider variety of wildlife – the same goals that a homeowner might have.

This is a large project that will be implemented over several years. There will be frequent future work days and many volunteers will be needed for a successful outcome. There are two more scheduled work days coming up on March 24 and 31.

And, of course, there will be opportunities for you to bring your family to observe the progress of the project and pick up tips and information about going native with your piece of the planet.

Click here for directions to Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area, 15020 Deepwood Lane, Nokesville, Virginia.

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