This is Dakota’s second year serving in our VetsWork AmeriCorps program as a youth and community volunteer coordinator on the George Washington-Jefferson National Forests. The following photos highlight the past few months of his service term.
“One of our first projects involved disking and planting native pollinator mix that is native to Rockbridge County as well as five other surrounding counties. After seeding the first round, we chain drug the field and applied a second layer of native pollinator mix. In order to make sure the seed was not driven too deep into the ground by upcoming rainstorms, we put mulch straw over the field.”
“On another project, I was responsible for daylighting and trimming soft mass trees at the top of Fletcher Mountain. On Fletcher Mountain we have various crab apple, cherry tree, and plum orchards. Grapevines, kudzu, and autumn olive heavily cover this area. Without some clearance from the mixture of the three, it makes it very difficult for native trees to grow and produce without receiving adequate sunlight.”
“I had the privilege of assisting with the prescribed burning of a unit in turkey pen on the Glenwood/Pedlar district of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The purpose of the burn was to reduce fuels on the forest floor as well as simulate a lighting strike fire so that minimal damage and scaring occurred to the area. Overall this was a very successful burn and all goals were achieved.”
“Here, I was responsible for pruning and daylighting a Sawtooth oak stand which had some damage due to weather and bears. Bears had climbed up and tore out the tops to many of these trees while also killing many limbs along the way. I was able to cut out most of the affected limbs and I’m hopeful for a very productive stand this year.”