Native Plant Nursery
From the Summer 2011 Octoraro Loop.
A major HSRAA conservation project caught the eye of UPS that has resulted in the receipt of a $10,000 grant from UPS to construct the HSRAA Nursery. Over the last couple of years, the nursery has been slowly moving along as an "extra" project outside of our annual cycle. With the UPS grant, we expect the nursery to be fully operational this summer - providing native bushes and trees specific to the Serpentine Barren ecosystem of the reservation.
Dick Bensing is HSRAA's Project Chairman not only on this but almost every one of the projects undertaken by the HSRAA since our inception.
In visiting the work site next to the Pole Barn, it is obvious that the area presents many challenges but certainly within Dick's purview. The day of my visit, Dick had the help of five Paoli Troop 1 past Senior Patrol Leaders. They have cut the forms and are preparing deer fencing for the area where indigenous Horseshoe Reservation trees are to be planted and developed for future planting on the Reservation. He reports that the fencing and watering system is being completed and that members of his troop, Paoli 1, will continue spending time working on the project this summer. Completion date to qualify for the funds is the end of the summer.
From the Spring 2012 Octoraro Loop.
Visitors to Camp Horseshoe in 2012 will see a new landmark as they pass through the gateway (a 2002 HSRAA project) and start down the camp road. This past fall, HSRAA volunteers, under the guidance of HSRAA Projects Committee Chairman Dick Bensing, completed the construction phase of the Horseshoe Nursery.
The Nursery is intended to serve multiple objectives. Its primary purpose will be to grow trees and shrubs that can be transplanted to meet the need for new and replacement plantings throughout the reservation. To this end, approximately 100 trees have already been potted and are growing in the nursery. The species include: pitch pine, white pine, eastern red cedar, persimmon, and choke cherry. Secondary objectives for the nursery include use in the nature and conservation programs of the reservation and possible use in education programs related to the ecology of the Serpentine Barrens.
Funds for the Nursery project came from HSRAA as well as a $10,000 grant from The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of the package delivery company.
The Nursery project was on the drawing board for HSRAA before the UPS grant program was announced but our timing was fortuitous. In September 2010, UPS announced the availability of $100,000 in grant money for Boy Scouts of America Natural Resources Conservation Local Council Grants. More specifically, the grant money was "intended to educate youth on the positive impact they can have on our environment through our conservation initiatives." Councils were invited to apply for $10,000 grants in support of project development and implementation of new conservation programs or initiatives. Knowing of the HSRAA plan for a nursery on the reservation property, Chester County Council invited us to lead the grant proposal process and apply the funds to our project. The grant allowed HSRAA to expand the scope of the project and include a new well in the plans.
The ranger staff at HSR coordinated the new well element of the project while Committee Chair Bensing spearheaded the remainder of the design and construction. As it stands today, the Nursery measures 60x42 feet, with an 8 foot fence, raised beds sufficient for up to 1,000 plants, and an automatic irrigation system. The project cost to date has been approximately $12,000. We anticipate HSRAA will deploy $1,000 to $2,000 in additional funds for the remaining elements of the project that will tie it into the camp programs. Like other HSRAA projects, we have also informally committed to ongoing financial support for the project.
As we begin to transition the Nursery from an HSRAA project to an integrated part of HSR, we are seeking a volunteer manager. This person would check on the irrigation equipment at least weekly throughout the summer and make recommendations on enhancements to the facility. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in such a role, please contact me at email@example.com.