This has been a week for young visitors. On Monday, six of a Madison County High School Environment Studies class, along with teacher David Matchen, spent Earth Day with us. They had two assignments: to gather ideas for final papers on habitat creation, and to help us eradicate a big patch of Japanese honeysuckle along the East trail. (In the feature photo, above, we have quarry dog Skyla making a new friend. So happy to have volunteers—Bobi, Mona, and Cora Chlebnikov—to help guide.)

Here’s QGs guide Bobi Thornhill setting off with the group for a circumnavigation of the two quarry pools.
The sycamore bench on the landing between flights up the North Quarry face is a favorite spot for group photos. 

After the walk and lunch, the students set to work on the honeysuckle, finding in the rock pile off the East trail a large, blackened half-rotted pair of work pants and rusted springs from a mattress—legacy of the site’s years as a dump. As a conservation area, the East trail is getting only clean-up—no planting. Many interesting species have been found there; we’re glad they’ll have less competition from the honeysuckle. A similar effort last year with Garlic mustard seems to have been effective: Only three plants found (and pulled) this spring. 

On Wednesday, 48-49 (we lost count) HEMS homeschoolers aged 18 months to teens, along with moms, joined us for a walk.

We divided them into two groups. Here’s some of Group One about to set off from the Visitor Center with Bernice. Note the earbuds. (Photo by Mona Peglow)
The South Quarry niche is a good spot to take note of the varied geology and quarrying techniques—and pose for a group shot.
The trail sound system we introduced late last season has been a hit. It allows visitors to string out along the trails and keep their own pace without missing any narrative. (Photo by Mona Peglow)

A few plants spotted along the route—a riot of Pussytoes (two species in bloom now); Dwarf crested irises in several spots; likewise Golden ragwort; Wild geranium near the Giant’s Stairs.

Among the many others in bloom now: Solomon’s seal, Ginger, Toadshade trillium, Dwarf larkspur, Golden Alexander, Silene, Blue-eyed grass, Birdsfoot violet, Woodland phlox, Black haw viburnum, Dogwood, Paw paw—all native to within 15 miles of Schuyler. And so much more to come!

Lunch followed—in the parking area.

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