Betton Hills Neighborhood Association celebrated Arbor Day this year on Saturday, January 29. Sixteen sturdy adults and six adventurous children braved the 30-degree temperatures to improve habitat for wildlife and to make a more beautiful place for neighbors at McCord Park this year. We started the morning with hot homemade cinnamon buns by Jody Walthall and cranberry bread by Mary Kay Falconer. There was delicious coffee from Lucky Goat and hot chocolate for the children.
Tom Schulte led a crew to clean out the two wood duck houses and the bluebird nest boxes. When they approached the wood duck house on Trescott Pond, they knocked on the house and were super surprised to see a large black-bellied whistling duck zoom out of the hole and onto the pond! I am glad that two of the children were along to see this – Nicolas Waits and Andrew Mclaughlin. In addition to cleaning the nest boxes, we replaced one nest box that had been vandalized and installed another box, predator guard and pole near the native azalea patch towards Thomasville Road. We now have six bluebird/chickadee nest boxes in the park.
We focused our energy on invasive plant removal in the woodland between the pond and Thomasville Road (near the Komodo Dragon statue). Mary Kay Falconer led a group of volunteers who removed and bagged the bright red ardisia berries and then dug the plants out. Jody Walthall and his assistant from Native Nurseries, Nick Ferendo, attacked the bigger plants – primarily mimosa, privet, Ligustrum and chinaberry. Another team – Vanessa and Richard Crisler and Wilson Baker worked on the opposite side of the woodland working their way in, digging ardisia and other invasives, primarily Taiwan cherry which is aggressively spreading throughout the woodland.
It is amazing to see all that was accomplished in a little more than two hours – we warmed up fast once we got working! We planted a white oak and a swamp chestnut oak tree in the woodland near Armistead Road and two spruce pines in Chittenden Park with the help of Holly Thomas. The City of Tallahassee provided twenty-five bales of pine straw that we spread around previous plantings throughout the park.
If you contributed to the Carol Bellamy Fund when you paid your dues, you helped to fund these activities. Thank you. One volunteer and new board member, Claire Watkins, suggested we plan quarterly workdays and is willing to do so. Watch for these.
The morning ended back at the coffee table which was set up near the kumquat tree and new bluebird house that replaced the vandalized one. Addie Watkins was sipping hot chocolate when a stunning male bluebird poked his head out of the bluebird house and then proceeded to perch on top of the house. Addie was enamored. We were just six feet from him. That was a perfect finale for our 2022 Arbor Day.
Thank you to the following participants:
- Donna Legare and Jody Walthall
- Nick Ferendo
- Vanessa and Richard Crisler
- Mary Kay Falconer
- Tom Schulte
- Wilson Baker
- Jennifer Butler
- Jordan, Bob and Teddy Biehl
- Tom and Nicolas Waits and Andrew McLaughlin
- Kris and Ross Ellington
- Robert, Claire, Addie and Lorelei Watkins
- Holly Thomas