The bluebird is doing well in Carden, thanks to two things: first, a local man named Herb Furniss has spent the last few decades building and distributing white bluebird boxes throughout the region, quietly making a huge difference for these little birds; second, Wylie Road rolls through an area where more than 6,000 acres of grassland, forest and wetland has been conserved as natural habitat.
For a decade now the Conservancy has been building fences on the properties we manage to keep cattle out of streams, and then creating alternative watering sources for cattle to access. We’ve also been helping other ranchers in the area to do the same.
At its south end, the Sanctuary takes in a small piece of the Carden Alvar, and the steep limestone slope created by the rough caress of the glaciers. At the foot of this slope, the Head River meanders across the reserve, its spring floods nourishing a rich floodplain forest. Beyond that is a band of mixed forest of oak, pine and birch on pockets of drier soils. But the northern half of the Sanctuary, north of Monck Road, is classic granite barrens with scattered trees and a mosaic of beaver ponds and wetlands. All on this one property, the ecological transition known as The Land Between is fully on display.
After over 6 years of planning, the experimental prescribed burn on Cameron Ranch, Carden, finally took place on April 13th. Fire is thought to be a part of the natural process of alvars, and has definitely been a part of the history in Carden with fires recorded in 1946 and 1881. These large fires, however, were not planned and had major impacts on the community at that time.