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On our last two BFS Volunteer Days, we’ve continued our attacks on Italian and Bull Thistles as well as doing some trail maintenance.

On February 18, ten valiant volunteers pulled up 22 bags of Italian Thistles (Carduus pycnocephalus) from the mound with the “old” toad pond.

The February 18 thistle pullers with their haul of thistles! Left to right: Will Chen (HMC '12), Diana Mar (HMC '14), John Robinson (HMC '12), Anwen Evans, Elsie Gibson (HMC '15), Carol Cox, Tim Cox, Sarah Stevens (HMC '15), and Cleo Stannard (HMC '15)

Although we pulled a lot of thistles, more still remain. We did, however, make great inroads! This area may be the original infestation of Italian Thistles. There are certainly more here than in any other location. We’ll probably attack this area again when the thistle are a bit larger.

On March 3, we turned our attention to one of a couple of newly spotted patches of Bull Thistles (Cirsium vulgare). These patches are fairly small with very few dead stalks, so we think they are relatively new infestations. If they’re recent, there may not be much of a seed bank, and we have a good chance of wiping them out. We worked on a corner of the east field that had the biggest thistles – some of the rosettes were more than two feet across and were starting to bolt.

Now that's a thistle! Bull thistles are very large and spiky and have coarse hairs on the tops of the leaves.

Prof. Dick Haskell (HMC) with a trophy thistle headed for the trash can. For scale, Prof. Haskell is over 6 feet tall.

We think we removed every single thistle from this little patch and in the process filled three large trash cans with thistles.

Three cans full of thistles!

Look, Ma – no thistles!

After pulling thistles, we did some trail maintenance – clearing some overgrown areas on the trail around pHake Lake.

A newly cleared stretch of trail. Doesn't it just invite you in?

If you’re interested in volunteering at the BFS, please contact Nancy Hamlett – nancy_hamlett@hmc.edu or 909-607-3811.

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