Field Trips

On your registration form, please list your choice for a field trip in Group A at 2 pm, as well as your choice for a field trip in Group B at 3:30 pm. (Field trip sizes are limited to 15 or 20 participants).

 

Group A / 2:00 – 3:00 pm

A1.) McConnell Springs Park: Removing and Controlling Invasive Plants (416 Rebman Lane, off Manchester Street, meet in the Rotunda in front of the visitor center)

Few places in Fayette County provide as much insight about the threat posed by invasive plants to the biodiversity of the inner Bluegrass and into ways of controlling them. A great deal of work has been done in this park to eradicate bush honey suckle, winter creeper, garlic mustard and other invasives. The field trip explores successful eradication methods as well as the question of what to plant in newly cleared areas, most of them forested.

Field Trip Leader: Stephen Rogers

 

A2.) The Cross Keys Wetland (1240 Cross Keys Road, meet at the gate closest to Alexandria Drive)

The construction of this wetland in a neighborhood park was commissioned by the LFUCG Department of Parks and Recreation. The design successfully combines familiar wetland plantings with the amenities of an urban park for passive recreation.

Field Trip Leader: Dan Stever

 

A3.) The Lansdowne — Merrick Park Stream Buffer (meet at the picnic shelter off Pepperhill Road; park on the street or at Julius Marks School)

When the city of Lexington worked out a consent decree with the EPA requiring a better management of its storm water, Lansdowne Park was one of the earliest sites where mowing to the stream edges stopped and a buffer area grew. Not surprisingly, plenty of bush honeysuckle and other invasives colonized the buffer. But typical Bluegrass natives also grew and are now quite established: walnuts, wild cherries, coffee trees, box elders, elms and so forth. Recently a neighborhood group has cleared out the invasives and added some planting to the buffer area. This is a good example of a “rewilded” stream bank: what happens along our urban creeks when management changes from mowing to weeding.

Field Trip Leader: Charley Sither


A4.) A Well-Established Native Plant Garden and Pollinator Habitat (992 Stonewall Road, Lexington), closed, see B6

Jannine Baker, the owner of this garden, was one of Lexington's first first native-plant enthusiast. She began to transform a typical suburban front and back yard into a habitat garden about 20 years ago, and she continues to make adaptations as her plants grow, mature and die. For Jannine, garden maintenance goes hand in hand with the enjoyment of her garden, for it allows her to observe from close-up both the plant and animal life that she supports.

Field Trip Leader: Jannine Baker


A5.) The Native Plant Gardens and Landscapes at St. Michael's Episcopal Church (2025 Bellefonte Drive, meet in the lower parking lot off Libby Lane)

Ten years ago, St. Michael's Church began to convert its grounds to Native Plants. Now there is a pollinator garden, a tree and shrub border stretching along the parking lot, an intimate courtyard garden that still combines natives with non-natives, two slopes each planted with trees and shrubs. The most ambitious feature is a large walk-through rain garden installed in a storm water detention basin. Best of all, the church grounds teem with pollinators and birds.

Field trip Leader: Linda Porter

 


Group B / 3:30 – 4: 30 pm

B1.) The Lansdowne - Merrick Park Stream Buffer

See description above under A3

Field Trip Leader: Charley Sither

 

B2.) McConnell Springs Park: Removing and Controlling Invasive Plants

See description above under A1

Field Trip Leader: Stephen Rogers


B3.) The Landscaped Areas of Wellington Park (565 Wellington Way, meet in the picnic shelter)

Wellington Park has a number of interesting landscape installations, each the result of an independent initiative. There is the somewhat formal Women's Garden with attractive pavement and a recently added abstract sculpture to honor all women. There are the Wild Ones pollinator garden near the park's entrance and an established prairie near the corner of Wellington Way and Clays Mill Road. An early Reforest the Bluegrass project occurred along the stream in the park about 15 years ago, when one could still innnocently hope that the emerging forest would eventually overtake the urban invasives. This is not what happened; instead bush honeysuckle and ornamental pears were removed last winter so that the native vegetation can finally breathe and grow. All of these are significant plantings that illustrate the issues of naturalistic design and maintenance.

Field Trip leaders: Lee Meyer and John Ed Scalf


B4.) The Stream Renaturalization Project at Clays Mill Elementary School and Southland Park

The plantings here were mostly installed in 2013 and since then have gained a degree of maturity. This site provides an opportunity to discuss maintenance issues and invasives control at an established location.

Field trip Leader: Russ Turpin


B5.) The Kentucky Native Cafe (Park in the parking lot at 446 East High Street, walk through the cafe area to the first greenhouse)

The area behind Michler’s greenhouses used to be a wild place covered with honeysuckle, poke weed, hackberry trees and much more that fell into the category of "weeds" 20 years ago. That wild space seemed to call out for urban “infill” even before the phrase had become a much touted klischee in Lexington. Now, the infill has occurred and what has emerged is a beautiful outdoor restaurant, where Lexingtonians  eat, drink and socialize. The honeysuckle is gone, but the hackberries, the poke and many other Bluegrass  natives  are till there to bridge the gap between the wildness  that nurtures our urban spirits and the sophisticated design that John Michler created. A great deal of thought went into the transformation of this space, and John Michler will share his ideas and their implementation with our field trip group.

Field trip leader: John Michler

B6.) A Well-Established Native Pant Garden and Pollinator Habitat

See description under A4

Field Trip Leader: Jannine Baker