Managing native landscapes topic of Feb. 20 event at Woodward Tech Center

Staff Report

Learn about how to manage native landscapes in a non-harmful way during “Managing Weeds Without Using Chemicals” from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Rock Valley College Woodward Technology Center, 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford.

Confused about the terms “pesticides” and “herbicides”? This program will answer questions about managing native landscaping in a non-harmful way. The program is free and open to the public. Arrive early and browse the library, merchandise tables, chapter information booth and refreshments table. Call (815) 627-0344 for more information.

Managing natural areas without using pesticides presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities that need planning, hard work and determination … qualities that describe presenter Mary Blackmore.

To avoid herbicides and their negative effects, one must focus on the target species’ biology. This includes the strategic timing of physical processes such as cutting or burning, as well as the encouragement of native species best-suited to outcompete the invasive vegetation. Blackmore’s discussion will also cover why people are your greatest asset and how your own expectations can be your greatest liability.

Blackmore has been involved in various aspects of natural areas management in northwestern Illinois for more than 30 years. Over that time, she has worked as a volunteer for several local non-profit organizations, focusing on herbicide-free methods and volunteer recruitment and retention. In 1992, she began studying the efficacy of using goats to control woody vegetation in small prairie tracts, using her own herd. She is the stewardship volunteer coordinator at two preserves in Ogle County that are owned and managed by the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society.

From the Feb. 5-11, 2014, issue

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