SAHC was pleased to host a group of sixteen volunteers from AmeriCorps Project Conserve (APC) on Round Bald within the Highlands of Roan. For the last three years, SAHC has partnered with APC to get members out on the Roan’s grassy balds to complete a variety of habitat restoration projects.
This year, APC members used hand tools to cut back woody plants from the interior of the grassy bald on Round Bald. Without management, the small herbaceous plants, sedges and grasses that characterize grassy bald habitat will be eventually overgrown by woody plants. This is a natural process called “forest succession;” however in this case, it is important to keep succession in check because grassy balds are a globally imperiled habitat type. Grassy balds offer a home to rare endemic plants and high elevation grassland wildlife species – a home that will slowly be lost without the help of volunteers like those from APC.
This was the first time many of the APC volunteers had been on the Roan, and it is always a delight to share that experience with people. Empowering members of the public to have a positive impact on public land is the hallmark of our volunteer habitat program. APC members enjoyed the clear sunny day, taking in the unrivaled views offered from the balds while working to maintain one of the Roan’s many rare plant communities.
A big thank you to all of the folks that came out for the work day! Thanks also to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy — their partnership and financial support helps make volunteer work days like this possible.