This week Aqua Crew worked with Artist Boat, an organization on Galveston island that is working to expand The Coastal Heritage Preserve. We started our week with a presentation on the history of Artist Boat as well as a tour of their facilities. They showed us a plot at the recently completed Outdoor Classroom they created. Our first assignment was to prepare the plot for future use. We tilled the ground for them and then set out into the prairie to translocate several native plants. Artist Boat’s goal with this plot is to one day be able to educate people about the prairie. Coastal prairies are a very important habitat and mostly misunderstood.
Our next assignment with the organization was removing a fence located in their greenhouse area. With the fence gone they will be able to grow more native plants faster
and help restore the preserve. We spent most of the day using a variety of tools such as chainsaws, McLeods, and loppers to remove thick vegetation that had overwhelmed the fence. We also had to work together to remove the heavy posts that held up the fence, roll up the old wiring, and then fill back in the holes the posts were in. It was a lot of work! The wind rolling over the island was wonderful to behold, and we encountered many cute insects while we worked.
We spent the rest of the week removing invasive species from the property. China Berry – as they are commonly referred to – are bad for Galveston island. They prevent native plants from flourishing and do not benefit native wildlife, so we helped them remove as much as we could. The area also had poison ivy and poison oak, so we all had to be very careful as we worked. The week wrapped up as the heat returned to Galveston Island, and with it HUGE mosquitoes in full flourish.
-Tara Wilkins – Coastal Crew Member (Aqua Crew)