Petite Wildflower at Traci’s Swamp (At Risk)

Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow in Kelso Swamp, Fayette Township, PA

Sure, Traci’s Swamp at Kelso Road and Pattridge Lane is a neat, pocket swamp. Fayette Township is just 7 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Beavers likely created the swamp, and hundred of animals and plants are now forever in their debt. The swamp is privately owned, and Traci can’t get the Western Pennsylvania Nature Conservancy to come and consider conserving the swamp and Traci’s Meadow. The Conservancy is too busy to visit, and with much more important fish to fry. Traci? She lives a stone’s throw away, and she’s a consummate naturalist.

At Traci’s invite, I visited the Swamp, and was delighted. Butterflies were all about, and the Viceroys were fresh and deeply hued.

During one of those breaks in the butterfly action, I notice this tiny wildflower. My wildflower guides haven’t helped me yet. It’s pert, self-confident and very optimistic. It grows in very wet soil, in between rivulets of water seeping from the swamp.

Soon after sharing this post, two of our friends got to work identifying it. Here we have Small Flowered Willow (Epilobium parviflorum). Native, no. Rare here, yes. It is a naturalized european transplant. Thanks Pete and Barbara Ann.

Jeff

Prime Meadow Habitat . . . Doomed?

Traci Meadow with Development In Sight, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fayette Township, PA

This meadow, one I know as Traci’s Meadow, is just some 6 or 7 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Traci invited me to see it and marvel also at Traci’s Kelso Swamp, 700 feet down the road. This meadow was lush, full of wildflowers . . . and loaded with early September 2015 butterflies. Loaded.

There I was, my second day there. I remembered the day before and how Traci reluctantly explaining that those houses in the background were new. This lovely meadow would soon be destroyed. Houses are going to be built on it.

Meadows are vanishing habitats, steadily snatched from all of us, week by week, here and there. Now I know that this is private property, and I respect the rights of private property owners. But, we are a Rich country, these United States of America, and we can afford (Yes we can) to repurchase and protect vital habitats for our kids and our grandkids.

This meadow haunts me, and I loathe the day that Traci (who lives just across the road) emails me that ‘dozers . . . Ugh!

Jeff