Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Turtle Island

A few weeks ago, we installed a floating island at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.  Funded by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, this island is made of a recycled plastic mesh and will float in Lake Sydnor.  With the help of volunteers, we planted plugs of different pollinator-supporting plants in holes drilled in the plastic fiber mesh.  The idea is that the roots of the plants will grow through the mesh, into the water below, and absorb excess nutrients from the water.  Many of the waterways in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are polluted with fertilizer runoff.

Floating island loaded and ready to move to the planting/launch site
Island ready for planting
Ann Jurczyk, Environmental Protection and Restoration, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, leading volunteers to plant the floating island
Volunteers and staff carrying the island into the lake
Launching the island
Moving the island into position with a kayak
About 3 hours after we launched the island, the turtles found it, so we have nicknamed it "Turtle Island."  The turtles are smashing down the plants on one corner of the island, so I'm not sure what I'll do about that long term.  I love that wildlife is using it as a refuge and the visitors are thrilled to see the turtles up-close, so we might just have to deal with no plants on one corner of the island.
Three weeks after planting, the turtles have claimed a corner of the island, but the other plants are filling in nicely


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