Cascading Waters can be found at 135 Olean Street on the eastern edge of Worcester's northwest parklands, the Cascades. The Cascades are 350 acres of park and conservation lands along the borders of Worcester, Paxton, and Holden, Massachusetts. Home to countless species of plants and animals, the Cascades are open to passive recreation year-round.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Crow Hill Fire

This past week there was a brush fire at Crow Hill, a roughly 35 acre area.

Now, the reason it got State money for preservation was that it is a habitat called Black oak Savannah.

Black oak Savannah requires fire to continue to persist. It is called "pyrophytic" or fire-loving and is characterized by open low growth, like grasses and blueberry bushes with an overstory of oak trees. Fast burning ground fires burn any poplar or birch or pine trying to join the party and the blueberry make opportunity of the full sun and ash chemical mix added to the soil.

This is what used to be much more prevalent as the landscape in Worcester.

We were starting to see this situation slip away at Crow Savannah with the undergrowth getting thick and threatening to dominate the site. We were beginning to have a conversation about mechanically, and laboriously, needing to cut it back.

And then, one hot dry spring, helped or not, Mother Nature took over and she did her thing!

The paper estimated 4ac. burned.
Yesterday, the Trust's Americorps Dude went out with the Dynamy intern and a GPS.
Make that more like 10 acres!
We will have a final number next week.

This is truly exciting!

To identify a natural system, to speak of it, study it, to lead walks on it, to preserve a piece of it is all great. BUT to see it jump to life and actively transform itself like a caterpillar to a pupae, to a butterfly... a butterfly big enough to see on aerial photos! Is quite amazing.

Way to go Crow Hill Savannah!

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