Stewards in Action at Swift Creek Bluffs

February 15, 2024

By Cara Lewis, Senior Communication Manager

South Wake Conservationists Volunteer at Swift Creeks Bluffs. Photo: Monty Morée
Patrick Boleman, TLC’s Land Stewardship Manager – East and Monty Morée, President of South Wake Conservationists. Photo: Cara Lewis

When TLC protects land, it then becomes our mission responsibility to take care of the land forever. Year round, our land stewardship team works to restore habitats on our private and public properties, monitor conservation easements, and maintain safe and enjoyable trails for all. We rely heavily on a network of dedicated volunteers to remove invasive species, fix and fortify structures, report trail conditions, and more. 

Volunteers from South Wake Conservationists recently worked with TLC’s Patrick Boleman to remove Japanese honeysuckle at Swift Creek Bluffs Nature Preserve to protect the beloved beech trees and other flora at this three-quarter-mile long preserve in the heart of Cary.

Invasive species often leaf out and stay greener longer than native species, making them easier to identify and remove in early winter. Removing invaders like Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) during the winter helps the ephemeral native plants and flowers bloom more fully in the spring. Swift Creek Bluffs is known for hosting trout lily, bloodroot, wild geranium, and more. All wildflowers and understory species benefit from honeysuckle removal.

Thanks to the Jandy Ammons Foundation, we have a new sign at this preserve noting the importance of removing invasive plants and vines. And remove them, they did! The crew from Southern Wake Conservationists filled more than a dozen garbage bags of pulled “problem” plants! 

Volunteers at Swift Creek Bluffs. Photos: Cara Lewis

South Wake Conservationists adopted Swift Creek Bluffs Nature Preserve as one of their focus areas for conservation efforts in south Wake County. In addition to removing invasive species, the group also secured the railings on the popular “stairway to heaven” by adding and pounding gravel around posts that had become loose. See photos from this project: Securing the Stairway to Heaven. 

We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication from our land stewards and the many volunteers in the community who so generously donate their time and skills to maintaining our nature preserves. 

Find a TLC Nature Preserve Near You