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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

National Public Lands Day a Success at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge

Region 3, September 29, 2012
Visitor Services Park Ranger Peter Rea providing a briefing on the volunteer activities for the day.
Visitor Services Park Ranger Peter Rea providing a briefing on the volunteer activities for the day. - Photo Credit: n/a
Park Ranger Peter Rea discussing the negative impacts of autumn olive to the refuge.
Park Ranger Peter Rea discussing the negative impacts of autumn olive to the refuge. - Photo Credit: n/a
Missouri Mycological Society member Maxine Stone providing a program about mushrooms to volunteers and visitors of Mingo NWR.
Missouri Mycological Society member Maxine Stone providing a program about mushrooms to volunteers and visitors of Mingo NWR. - Photo Credit: n/a

On Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 about 20 volunteers came out to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge to participate in National Public Lands Day. This day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Volunteers from all over the country come out to their local public land to take part in conservation related volunteer projects. At Mingo, the volunteers assisted refuge staff in removing autumn olive, which is an invasive plant species that can take over the forest understory. The autumn olive removal was done along the Hartz Pond Trail near the site for the new visitor center. In order to make the trail more accessible and to open up the understory for native plant growth and wildlife, the thick understory of autumn olive needed to be removed. To help out with this project, members from the Advance Scout Troop, the Mingo Swamp Friends and refuge volunteers joined together to try and knock back this invasive plant species.

Overall, refuge staff were more than impressed with the hard work and enthusiasm that the volunteers showed throughout the day. In fact, the volunteers cleared more than four times the area of autumn olive that was expected to get done! Their hard work will go a long way in opening a trail for future visitor use and in removing an invasive plant species from Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. A big thank you to all of the volunteers that came out for the day!

 

Following the autumn olive removal, volunteers and visitors to Mingo were able to participate in a program all about the Mushrooms of Missouri. Maxine Stone, a member of the Missouri Mycological Society and author of the book Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms, gave a talk about the tremendous diversity of mushrooms. She shared information about edible mushrooms, medicinal mushrooms and even gave caution to some of the poisonous ones. To wrap up the day, visitors joined a refuge ranger for bird watching from the Monopoly Overlook where Canada geese, blue-winged teals, egrets and even a bald eagle were spotted. Overall the day was a great way to celebrate, conserve and enjoy our National Public Lands.

Contact Info: Peter Rea, 573-222-3589, peter_rea@fws.gov