The Greenbelt Alliance with help from more than 30 Texas State students tackled a variety of projects at Prospect Park again this year as part of Bobcat Build. The annual community service project is in its 12th year. The last three years SMGA and the students worked at Prospect Park removing ligustrum, working on improving trails and tending trees planted in years past.
|Todd Derkacz gives a safety briefing before work starts.|
This year’s efforts concentrated on removing more Ligustrum lucidum or glossy privet, an invasive that crowds-out the native plants. Previous year’s efforts were rewarded this year with small batches of bluebonnets making an appearance in the karst areas for the first time.
Other non-natives such as nandina and redtip photinia were identified and marked for removal in future efforts. In the meadow area of The Learning Tree and Star-gazing circle it is King Ranch bluestem and Johnson grass that is keeping the wildflowers and native grasses down.
Two small patches were cleared to the soil and students planted a variety of native grasses including Sideoats Grama (Texas state grass), Little Bluestem, Indiangrass, Buffalograss and Green Sprangletop.
The Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) members and Susan Hanson’s nature writing class also worked to re-mulch seven bois d’arc trees, one lone anacua and three Mexican plum trees that in later years will provide shade along Virgil’s Way, the main ADA trail that connects to Purgatory Creek Natural Area.
|After the grass seed was sown one lone water can was used to wet the soil.|
City of San Marcos Parks & Recreation crew members used a chipper to mulch the many ligustrum trees that were cut a week earlier. Students kept busy pulling the cut trees to the crew who mulched the soft wood trees. Several areas along the trail were improved by a small crew removing barriers to water run-off. In Central Texas when it does rain it often comes in torrents. The trails need to shed water quickly and in the case of Prospect Park we have many karst features that replenish the acquifer.
More photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/smga/sets/72157643158613313/ and do not forget to check out the bluebonnets at https://www.flickr.com/photos/smga/sets/72157643106730444/