Process of Succession in Miller Ecological Park
By Bob Henn
Miller Ecological Park is a former agricultural land. The wildflowers present are largely those that thrive well in the open with full sun. Many are annuals or biennials such as mustard and clover, and perennials such as honeysuckle and blackberries, that survive by producing tremendous numbers of seeds and whose population spreads quickly.
With continued mowing and honeysuckle removal, many native wildflowers will reappear as succession occurs along Will's Run and throughout the park. Continuous changes, called succession occur in a community over a period of time. Groupings of plants and animals are replaced gradually by others until the complete character of the community is quite different from those in the beginning. The sequence of stages in succession follows a definite and orderly pattern from pioneer, intermediate, and finally a climax community of plants and animals. Each stage creates conditions that pave the way for the next stage. This is an important concept in ecology and the reason for the middle name of our park.
The recent planting of 35 native species of native prairie plants is an excellent step forward in establishing two areas of prairies and contributes greatly to the diversity of plants in Miller Ecological Park. A large diversity of plants attracts a large diversity of birds. All of these contribute greatly to the enjoyment of everyone who comes to the Park.
Be sure to watch the prairies develop and reach full maturity in August.