December 19th – If You’re Missing Christine Madliger……..

The Christine Madliger android - drop by and chat.

Sometimes you just can’t connect with people and it gets you to wondering: what’s going on? how are they doing? is everything ok?

Well, for those of you that have been missing Christine Madliger, our late Species-at-Risk Co-ordinator who is working on a PhD at Windsor, your troubles have come to an end. Walk to the end of the Indiana Trail and you will find her….or at least her android. By turning the black handle vigorously and pushing one of four buttons, you can hear Christine talking about various aspects of the Ruthven site. (Sort of creepy.) Not only is it informative but it has the added advantage that you can simply turn her off whenever you want by just releasing the handle (an advantage pointed out to me by her husband Chris – a real-life advantage he’s evidently lacking).

Christine - up close and personal. You can almost feel her smile.

Sandy getting geared up to do some tree seed planting.

Sandy Turner, our Stewardship Co-ordinator continues to be busy. We were out in the driving rain and clogging clay fields last week with Jeff Krete from Ducks Unlimited looking at a wetlands area that we potentially might be able to rehabilitate through collaboration with DU. This is really exciting! But today she was gearing up to plant some tree seeds. She came to work with just the right tool for the job – a narrow spade with a tube attached. She will open a hole with the spade and drop a seed down the tube and right into the hole. Sounds easy but after several hundred (or thousand) plantings it becomes quite a chore.

The "tool" - a narrow spade behind and a tube (through which you drop the seed) in front.

There are an increasing number of “stewardship” tasks coming up (and they seem to be coming up more and more) that will benefit from having volunteers involved in carrying them out:
– Tree/shrub planting will be ongoing depending on the availability of seed or seedlings
– trail maintenance
– Wood Duck nesting box erection AND MONITORING
– monitoring of Tree Swallow/Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes (not used by Christine in her study)
– bird point counts on various parts of the extensive property – for a variety of reasons
– eradication of invasive species
– maintenance of the Butterfly Meadow
– turtle surveys
– snake surveys
– (Norm and Mary Pomfret already do a wonderful butterfly survey – see the most recent Riversong for details)
– and the list will go on as we identify what more we can learn from this wonderful, wild site

If you are interested in getting involved in some of these projects or, at least, in learning more about the possibilities, we are thinking of having a seminar in the late Winter/early Spring at which we will outline what needs to get done, why, and how various counts, surveys, jobs, etc. are done. If you would like specific information on when and where this will take place, let me or Sandy or the women in the front office know and we’ll contact you directly when we schedule the event….or you can just wait for the general announcement.


3 thoughts on “December 19th – If You’re Missing Christine Madliger……..

  1. The spade is bought – it has a very narrow blade. The tube down which the tree seeds are dropped is a pipe and is taped to the shaft of the spade. You push the spade into the ground; push forward to open a furrow; and then drop the seed down the tube and into the furrow. On removing the spade, you close the furrow with our foot.

  2. We are working on designing manual no-till seeds and compost planters at
    These planters should be able to make the seeding chore more easy.

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