New Life from the Ground Up

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By Karen Menard

These baby Lark sparrows are begging for an insect meal near a newly cleared pine area at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark.

As some of the aging pine plantations at the end of their natural lifespan are cleared away new life is emerging from the ground up. Newly opened grassland habitats in Oak Openings will attract ground-nesting birds such as the state endangered Lark sparrow. These birds need large sandy, grassland habitats for nesting.

Native, sun loving plants will soon emerge from the ancient seed bank, populating prairie environments and attracting important pollinators. Metroparks will continue to enhance these old pine sites with native ecotype seeds while eradicating invasive species. Dozens of species will now call these spaces home.

Restoration really is worth the effort.

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Photo by Julie Weidner