Voluntown/North Stonington
Habit Improvement Projects
FALL 2013

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Project Report
by Ray Thiel
Updated - 10/23/2013


The summer of 2013 was spent planting native shrubs in the large field on the southern end of our property in North Stonington (area 5) and in two spots in or near the cleared hedgerow near the parking area (area 4a). These plantings were similar to those completed in the spring in area 4a in that they involved creating deer exclusion enclosures around the shrubs that are prone to browsing plus planting some shrubs that are naturally deer resistant. There were a large variety of shrubs planted:

Black ChokeberryVirginia Rose
Grey DogwoodHighbush Blueberry
American HazelnutNannyberry
Staghorn SumacBayberry
InkberryCommon Juniper

A total of 360 shrubs were planted late this summer. Thanks to an enthusiastic work party and help from two DEEP representatives, we planted 310 shrubs in one day. Follow-up work parties mulched the shrubs and put up the deer exclusion fencing around 33 groups of shrubs. This work was completed in late October when the last 55 shrubs (junipers and bayberries) were planted (without enclosures) along the western side of area 4a and on top of the hill just east of the pond.

The remaining efforts associated with either the WHIP or LIP projects involve mostly maintaining the areas that have already been worked on by keeping the woody growth under control. This involves periodically mowing or spraying portions of the reclaimed areas and selectively cutting out any trees so that none grow to be more than 2” thick. The only other work involves one final cutting in the area north of the parking lot commonly known as “the circle” in the section designated area 1c. This area cannot be cut for at least three years so that the area opened up next to it (areas 1a and 1b) can regrow before cutting in area 1c starts.

The evidence that wildlife is using and moving into the areas that have been changed through the habitat improvement programs is everywhere. We’ve had turkeys nesting, the deer browse all the new growth and there is an abundance of cover for upland birds in places where the cover used to be sparse. The property is much more “wildlife friendly” than it has been in many years.

Photographs showing the progress of both projects are available by clicking the appropriate "play" button below. Address any questions concerning either of these programs to Ray Thiel at prma1@comcast.net.


WHIP Areas 4a and 5 Fall 2013