The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Volunteers plant in Miners park

 

May 11, 2021

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

Volunteers with the Friends of Miners Memorial Heritage Park pause for a photo while planting trees and shrubs near the Evelyn Bedore Butterfly Garden on the Aurora Loop trail. The volunteers include, from left, Gary Shaffer, Kristen Semo, Brenda Moseley, Ivan Hellen, Carol Erickson and Sharlene Shaffer. Jim DeCur and Marianne Andresen are not pictured.

By TOM LAVENTURE

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Ironwood - Volunteers with the Friends of the Miners Memorial Heritage Park in Ironwood got the jump on spring weather Thursday with a tree and shrub planting event.

The group approved a $100 purchase of trees and shrubs from the Gogebic Conservation District, said Sharlene Shaffer, board member. The trees included yellow birch and White Pine. The shrubs included thimbleberry, winterberry, sumak, lilac, ninebark along with roses.

"Every year we kind of pick a different area to diversify the plantings in the park," Shaffer said. "We've been in several places in the park."

Brenda Moseley, an FMMHP member who moved to the area just over a year ago, said the effort is to plant species that are native to the region. The plantings occur at the same time as volunteers work to remove invasive plants that threaten the proliferation and sometimes survival of some native species.

"Basically, they've (Friends of Miners Park) been trying to beautify and diversify the vegetation and bring back the native plants and allow it to come back on its own," she said.

The Gogebic Conservation District encourages this process to help restore natural systems that support the native insects, birds and the host of wildlife that thrive under natural systems, she said. One aspect of the decline of pollinators comes from replacing native species with non-native plants and flowers, she said.

"A lot of native species that have adapted to the area have deeper roots that are better at storing water and require less water so are easier to maintain," Moseley said. "They are really important for a lot of different species of wildlife."

Planting native oak and maple trees and the range of plants that are native to the area also require less maintenance, which is helpful for parks run by small groups of volunteers, she said. There are many benefits for growing native species and some of the native wildflowers are quite beautiful too.

Shaffer said other projects include a grant from the Gogebic Range Master Gardeners to place signage to help hikers identify the plants they frequent in the park. She is also looking into adding the park to a plant map app to let people know the locations of specific plants and trees in the park.

Ivan Hellen, park volunteer and historian, is also continuing his projects that place signage at the locations where various mining buildings and structures once stood. When artifacts are discovered in the park they become part of collections that are being organized and displayed at various locations in the park.

For more information on the Friends of Miners Park, visit fmmhp.com.

 
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