Taking the creep out of creeping Jenny
On July 26, 2018, 14 Conservation Volunteers (CV) journeyed to the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Westmeath Freshwater Caves property, which is part of the longest underwater cave system in Canada, to remove creeping Jenny.
The Westmeath Freshwater Cave system is a magical place, with its large karst landscape characterized by sinkholes and underwater caves that are created when water dissolves soluble rocks, beautiful limestone formations and diverse plant life. It also includes hickory nut mussels, which help filter bacteria in the water and aid the water's sturgeon population.
Creeping Jenny is a low-growing, herbaceous invasive plant that loves moist environments. These conditions exist on the lower, moister areas of the Westmeath property’s forest. Uprooting creeping Jenny here helps native plants survive. This, in turn, helps local wildlife.
So, uprooting creeping Jenny was the mission of the day at this CV event. By doing this, we continue to aid the growth of regional rare species and local plant survival.
This day was full of fun, laughter and hard work. Four local residents from the Westmeath area participated, as did 10 people from the Ottawa region. All share a love of nature and believe in the importance of protecting it. Our young conservation technicians (Alexandra Belanger, Maggie Stevenson, Amelia Bonenfant and Gretta Lumsden) and our leader, Megan Quinn, provided insights on the day and shared their love of the area. By the end of the day, we had gathered 11 garbage bags full of creeping Jenny.
Our day of removing creeping Jenny helped protect not only the aquatic ecosystem and the above-ground ecosystems, it also helped contribute to the natural richness of Canada’s landscape. The 75-acre (30-hectare) Westmeath Freshwater Caves area, with its subterranean wonderland, is a worthy and exceptional conservation priority.
Watch my video slideshow of the day's event here >
Video owned and produced by Cheryl Spotswood.