OKES will be working with the support of the Xerces Society to provide pollinator gardens, native planting areas, and bee lawns to Carbondale residents!

The city of Carbondale has recently revised city codes to support and encourage pollinator-supportive landscaping. The city of Carbondale recognizes these three classifications of pollinator-supportive landscapes: Pollinator Gardens, Bee Lawns, and Native Planting Areas (the different classifications can be found here:  https://www.explorecarbondale.com/900/Pollinator-Supportive-Landscaping

We are very excited to announce Ozark Koala Ecosystem Services will be working with the support of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to offer Carbondale residents high quality and deeply researched options for implementing all three types of pollinator landscapes as well as literature and direction to citizen science projects that can make these plantings more fun and engaging.

OKES often works on large scale and high value natural areas, but we see significant public outreach value in these small but highly visible private projects. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about how we can help you make your pollinator dreams a reality! Pictured and labeled below are some of the many native and pollinator friendly plants that you could have in your yard. 

How to contact us: 

Email- Ozarkkoalaes@gmail.com 

Office Phone- (618) 694-5471

For more information on the Xerces society follow this link:  Xerces.org 

For more information on what native plant species are best for our region follow this link: https://www.xerces.org/sites/default/files/publications/22-025_01_NPPBI—Midwest_web.pdf

For more information on what pollinator habitat includes or might look like follow this link: https://illinoispollinators.org/pollinator-habitat-design/

For more information on natural lawn care and what you can do to support pollinators visit this link:https://illinoispollinators.org/community-science-and-education/what-you-can-do/

*some of these sites mention that nonnative plants can be used in these plantings. While nonnative plants can be beneficial we would like to reiterate that native species do prefer and thrive with native plants and they are more “valuable” to the local ecosystem in the long run. 

Snowberry clearwing hummingbird moth (Hemaris diffinis) on ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)
📷:Amy Frailey
A monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
📷:Amy Frailey
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
📷:Amy Frailey
A ruby throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) on cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
📷:Amy Frailey

The Benefits of Snags and Wildlife Trees

The term “snag” is used to describe a standing dead or dying tree. While snags may appear to be value- less, they are actually very important for the survival of many wildlife species especially in the winter months. They provide habitat for animals such as raccoons, woodpeckers, opossums, squirrels, owls and many more species. Snags and cavity holes will stay warmer than the outside air, provide safety, shelter, and even food for some animals. Ideally, in a healthy woodland there would be around 5-7 snags per acres. Good habitat and den trees in Southern Illinois include but are not limited to American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), Beech trees (Fagus spp.), Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), and any hardwoods (Quercus spp. and Carya spp.). You can create snags by girdling unhealthy trees, girdling is when you cut into the bark (into the cambium layer) around a tree 1-2 times about 6 inches apart from each other and then depending on the species apply herbicide into the cut. Girdling will allow the tree to slowly rot away in a more controlled way. Labeled below are some pictures of snags, cavity holes, and the animals that use them found around Southern Illinois. 

An example of a large snag
📷:Amy Frailey
Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
An example of a snag or wildlife tree
📷:Amy Frailey
Barred owl (Strix varia)
📷: Amy Frailey
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)
📷: Amy Frailey
Yellow Bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
An Example of a cavity hole
📷: Amy Frailey

Natural Oak Regeneration

Oak regeneration is a very good sign of a healing ecosystem. Check out this patch of oak regen on a property our company has managed for a few years. Invasive species removal, forest stand improvement, and prescribed fire is giving this lot a new lease on life.

Fults Hill Nature Preserve

In 2021, the IDNR contracted work out to OKES to conduct invasive species management on Horseshoe Prairie located at Fults Hill Nature Preserve in Monroe County. This was part of an ongoing restoration effort to help the prairie parcels thrive and to minimize competition with aggressive invaders that will crowd out natives if given the opportunity. Our job was to remove Sassafras, Sumac, and other species that do not belong on a hill prairie thus giving our natives a chance to flourish. The pictures below show Horseshoe Prairie before OKES conducted invasive species management, during the treatment, and after the work was completed.

Our Forester and Operations Manager Jeremy took this photo of Horseshoe Prairie before OKES started working

Jeremy also took this photo shortly after the crew finished conducting invasive species management

Drone shot Mission Timber took of Horseshoe Prairie in the Spring after OKES cleared Sassafras (Sassafras spp.), Sumac (Rhus spp.), and other problematic species that were taking over the prairie

Mission Timber’s Drone view of Horseshoe Prairie at Fults Hill Nature Preserve