Public Lab Research note

Pole Mapping an Urban Prairie in Durham, NC

by taramei | April 30, 2016 16:20 30 Apr 16:20 | #13054 | #13054

Justin and Tara Mei's first attempt to Pole Map Prairie Island.

Most people don't think of prairies in the Southeast, but they were once common in the North Carolina landscape - maintained by grazing megafauna and frequent lightning. Not just a relic of the past, Piedmont prairies are well adapted to the future.

Prairie Island is a creative placemaking project that highlights the native flora of Durham County, North Carolina. The intent is to create a memorable landscape that supports native bird and pollinator populations, helps to reduce the heat island effect, and engages urban and suburban communities with local, wild landscapes.

We began planting at the end of April and have already installed at least 1000 plants: (Ceanothus americanus), (Andropogon ternarius), (Carex brevior), (Baptisia alba), (Oenothera fruticosa), (Penstemon digitalis).

Each kind of plant is marked with a color ground flag.

The plants are all battling the kudzu shoots- which are being hand pulled. (Prior to the planting the Kudzu was treated with Hardball for 2 years, so it's density has been greatly reduced.

The map will allow us to monitor the planting and see how they are all doing over time. We plan to collaborate with NC Central's Field Mapping class.

I'll write an update after we put it all in map knitter.

At the end of our mapping, the carp gangster broke when I tried to take off the camera mount:(

I am looking forward to the next mapping session.


That's going to be an awesome prairie. I hope you can keep up with the kudzu. Are you going to repair the pole? Some standard fiberglass fabric soaked in epoxy and wrapped around the split part will probably work great, but that section won't nest inside the other poles any more. Maybe even a strip of an old polyester shirt soaked in epoxy will work. I guess you should sand the shiny pole first. Those carp poles are great tools but are not designed to have pressure on them between the reinforced ends. Maybe try attaching the camera at the end where there is an extra layer of material and epoxy. Although if you repair the pole you will have that in the middle of a section!

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Tell me more about the pole break! what happened? We have some spare 'top kits' here and could potentially replace the end section.

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