Controlled burn at AL!VE in early April to enhance PRESERVE

A controlled burn in PRESERVE, the grassland prairie at AL!VE, will remove overgrown invasive grass and weed species and improve the habitat. The date of this collaborative effort between AL!VE, Eaton Conservation District and Charlotte Fire Department will be determined by weather conditions, including wind direction and precipitation. Tentative dates identified are after business hours, Saturday, April 4, or Sunday, April 19.

Controlled burns are used to maintain and restore native grasslands. They can recycle nutrients tied up in old plant growth, control many woody plants and weeds, and increase plant growth.  The controlled fire will remove harmful invasive species, and promote plant diversity and the growth of native species, such as Black-Eyed Susan and Indian Grass. Within weeks of the burn, guests can expect to see the start of new and diverse plant life.

“This burn is an important management tool for maintaining and enhancing PRESERVE,” said Andrea Stay, executive director of the Eaton Conservation District. “With this project we expect to increase plant diversity and habitat to attract more native species at AL!VE.”

This project also creates a unique opportunity for the Charlotte Fire Department to simulate wildfire training. Fire department volunteers and staff will be on-site to start and maintain control of the fire, and help ensure safety for the community, including nearby businesses and residents. Anyone observing the fire is urged to maintain a safe distance of at least 500 feet from smoke or burning material.

“We are excited about this wonderful opportunity to bring in local agencies to help enhance this vibrant preservation,” said Patrick Sustrich, AL!VE executive director. “Following the burn we will begin a broadcast seeding of native wild flowers along Lawrence Avenue in front of AL!VE. Future plans may include the expansion of EXPLORE, AL!VE’s indoor walking-path, outside to incorporate paths in PRESERVE, as well as an expansion to the community garden, HARVEST.”

For more information on the benefits of controlled burns, contact Andrea Stay at (517) 543-5848, ext. 5. Questions regarding community safety or about the burn itself, contact Deputy Fire Chief Jonny Fullerton at (517) 543-0241.