Woodend Sanctuary Volunteer Teams
Leader: Liz Jones
Schedule: Twice monthly on Friday mornings, March-November, in the garden. In the winter, occasional planning meetings and garden work sessions.
Mission: The team maintains the garden as a local resource for people interested in growing flora native to Maryland, to restore environmental balance and support native fauna.
- Garden work: planting, transplanting, weeding, staking, pruning. (Watering is limited to new plantings, as the garden has a sprinkler system.) Plants needing thinning may be moved to other locations within the Blair Garden or the Woodend property, or taken home by volunteers.
- Plant observation. Volunteers maintain a detailed log of plant growth phases, observing each garden species and noting whether leafing, flowering, or fruiting. This will become an informal data resource for local gardeners.
- Plant descriptions. Volunteers are developing fact sheets for each species planted in the garden, to be illustrated with
- Plant photos.
Leader: Irene Ingraham
Schedule: Second and fourth Thursday mornings, 9-12
Mission: The team maintains Woodend's trails to make them both user- and nature-friendly. Youth volunteers and Scouts often help.
- Repair the trail system behind the mansion, furthest from the roads and most difficult to maintain
- Clear debris
- Provide clear, updated signage
- Control runoff, for instance with ditches and planted edges
- Protect roots of trailside trees
Volunteers have cut down tree material to line trails south of the creek bed and filled eroded areas with dirt and mulch. They have used downed wood for borders for the trails and reinforced the borders with pegs. Eroded trails have been stabilized with retainers and rechanneling of runoff away from the trails. Some have been reconfigured. Tree root areas that cross trails have been filled with dirt. Volunteers have also removed rotten benches, posts, and unused lumber. They have closed trail areas and deer trails with downed wood to discourage foot traffic and erosion.
In the future, the trails volunteers will continue to counteract erosion with retainers, contouring and rechanneling runoff. They plan to apply sealer to untreated benches and wood structures. They also plan to name the trails and install signs and directional markers.
Leader: Marilyn Leung
Schedule: First and third Mondays, 1-3 pm winter, 9-11 summer
Mission: The team removes invasive plants from the Sanctuary grounds, including the area directly across Jones Mill Road from the entrance. One recent focus has been on removal of alien vines, such as English ivy, porcelain berry, and Japanese honeysuckle. Another target is wineberry, an Asian raspberry bush that forms spiny thickets, displacing native species. The team has had much success, but there is still much to do.
Volunteers are working in several other areas at Woodend, in teams or small groups and alone.
Leader: Becky Cromwell
Mission: The team maintains the bird feeding station and plans to refurbish the bird blind and nesting boxes at the sanctuary. There is also a team to monitor nesting boxes during breeding season.
Rain garden, runoff control demonstration plot.
The Children's Learning Garden. Staff contact: Jenny Brown. Volunteers maintain this organic vegetable garden at Woodend. In the future, the team plans to create and post signs about the garden. In addition, they plan to create workshops for adults to learn about the best practices in edible food gardening and how to work with children in the garden.
Meadow restoration. Leader: Pat Ratkowski. Staff contact: Lisa Alexander. The team is preparing the site in summer and planting native species in the fall of 2013, with the goal of a rejuvenated meadow near Woodend's Jones Mill entrance in spring 2014.
Deer management. Leader: Pat Ratkowski. The team will monitor the deer population and environmental effect at Woodend of the Montgomery County deer cull in neighboring Rock Creek Park. Based on the results, volunteers will erect deer exclosures to protect plants and habitat and control erosion.
Stream restoration. Leader: Pat Ratkowski. This project must wait for streamside plants to regrow once the deer are under control.
Beginning bird walks. Staff contact: Pam Herrick. After a training session with naturalist Stephanie Mason, volunteers conduct the beginning bird walks held at Woodend every Saturday, 8-9 am (monthly in winter).