The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) will host two series of Habitat Management Work Days in the Highlands of Roan in July, welcoming volunteers of varying skill levels and ages. No prior experience is necessary. Volunteer days will focus on habitat management for the iconic grass bats of the Roan Appalachians, the stunning mountaintop open spaces that people love to visit and photograph.
The “Round Bald Rubus Roundup” July 15-16 is perfect for newcomers to habitat management activities. Volunteers will help remove Canada Blackberry (Rubus canadensis) and other woody Round Bald vegetation by hand mowing brushy areas (using weeders) to maintain a generally sparse grassy habitat atop the balds.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn what SAHC is doing to manage these rare habitats, without the commitment of a long hike,” said Marquette Crockett, SAHC’s Roan Stewardship Manager. “Generally we will be working within 0.25 miles of the Carver’s Gap parking area. We encourage anyone new to conservation or Roan to join us for these events. This work is particularly important this year, as a campfire caused a winter ‘grass fire’ on Round Bald. For this reason, it is imperative that we focus our efforts on mowing this area this year. »
The Grassy Ridge Mow-Off on July 23-24 is SAHC’s annual work and volunteer camp weekend, a fun experience and a major habitat management effort. Both backpackers and day-trippers are welcome – volunteers can come to work for a single day or camp to enjoy a breathtaking sunset/sunrise on the ‘Sky Islands’ of Roan.
“Join other volunteers as we work to sustain the world’s rare grass and shrub bats found on Grassy Ridge, one of the most beautiful and ecologically important sites in the Roan Highlands “, says Crockett. “We will cut blackberries and other invasive shrubs using weeders and brush cutters. Enjoy great company and great job satisfaction! Our annual Grassy Ridge Mow-Off is more than just a day’s work – it’s an amazing way to experience the Roan Highlands and share precious moments with friends. The hike to Grassy Ridge is about 2.5 miles one way, the views are beautiful, and we have a job to suit almost anyone.”