Urbana Park District

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Hickman Wildflower Walk Restoration Underway

August 11, 2015 09:53 AM

Hickman Wildflower Walk Site Restoration

The Hickman Wildflower Walk, an area in Meadowbrook Park between the community organic gardens and the Wandell Sculpture Garden loop path, is undergoing changes in order to increase the abundance of wildflowers.  The area is currently overrun by a lot of invasive or weedy plants, brush, and trees.   In order to improve the conditions for wildflower expansion, we will be reducing the presence of the aggressive species and allowing for more sunlight in this area.

Recently, staff members have begun to remove invasive brush. The next step is for natural areas restoration contractors and staff to begin selectively treating invasive plants in this area with herbicide to prepare the area for wildflower seeding. Staff will be working with special care around the community gardens to prevent any offsite impacts.  In the late fall, the area will be seeded with a diverse mix of wildflowers and grasses in accordance with the site conditions.  Select invasive and weedy trees will be removed and left as standing dead for additional habitat. Ash trees that are susceptible to Emerald Ash Borer will be removed as part of this work as well.

 Future benefits of the site restoration include

  • Increased diversity and abundance of wildflowers
  • More habitat for butterflies and their associated flower species
  • Improved habitat for pollinators dependent on native species

In addition to improved wildflower habitat, community organic gardeners will notice improved and relocated compost and manure storage areas closer to the Race Street parking lot. The large berm along the path at the east end of the organic gardens will be shortened and planted with wildflowers, providing a potential future sculpture location.  The sculpture “Molecular Reflection” will be moved closer to the path on a slight raised berm and will be surrounded by a short stature prairie planting.

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