“It’s a new program. Wintertime, especially this time of the year, we have really low attendance,” said Keith Bailey, interpretive ranger for the Etowah Indian Mounds. “Like today, nobody has even been here today. It’s a beautiful day out other than it being cold. We get neglected during the wintertime and there’s still things to offer. Wintertime, especially here, is the perfect time to think about wildlife, feeding birds and getting your gardens ready for the springtime. So it was just something that we wanted to offer to give people something to do.
“I will be leading the introductory part in the morning about caring for wildlife. ... [The discussion will cover] how to basically provide food, shelter and water during the wintertime for migratory birds and such. So we’ll be talking about making sure your birdhouses are cleaned, and when they’re cleaning up in the wintertime, brush piles make good places for rabbits and birds to hide in. So it’s not always the best idea to burn them right off.”
After Bailey’s wildlife segment at 9:30 a.m., the program will feature Bartow County Extension Coordinator Paul Pugliese addressing invasive species and how to prepare for a wildflower garden from 10 a.m. to noon; cracking corn demonstration with a wooden Kanona from 12:30 to 1 p.m.; and the state mascot “Scout” will be present for crafts involving wildflower starter trays and pinecone bird feeders from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
“I was invited by Keith Bailey from the Department of Natural Resources to speak at the Etowah Indian Mounds on two topics,” Pugliese said. “The first topic is concerning how to deal with invasive weeds and general weed management. There are a number of invasive weeds and trees that grow in Bartow County, such as Chinese privet, Paulownia trees, kudzu, honeysuckle and wisteria. I will discuss how to identify these and many other common invasive plants and various tactics for managing these weeds. I will also cover basic weed biology and options for weed control that can apply to any backyard garden or landscape situation.
“The second topic will include general information on preparing springtime wildflower gardens. This has been a popular topic with the visibility of wildflower plantings along interstate highways in recent years. We will cover the basics of soil preparation, wildflower seed selection and various planting techniques.”
For Pugliese, controlling invasive plants and promoting wildflower gardens are significant and timely topics to address.
“It’s important for folks to understand the issues surrounding invasive weeds and raise awareness of how to prevent these types of invasions,” Pugliese said. “We are constantly being bombarded by new invasive insects, weeds and plant pathogens that have a huge impact on our natural ecosystems and our ability to grow agricultural crops economically. Invasive pests also displace and threaten many endangered plant and animal species that are native to our region. Invasive species cost the U.S. economy over $120 billion dollars each year.
“Planting wildflowers and native plants help attract pollinators and provide habitat for our wildlife. It’s important to provide these pollen and nectar sources to increase the number of pollinators and other wildlife in our landscapes and gardens, especially as our area becomes less rural and more suburban.”
Situated at 813 Indian Mounds Road in Cartersville, the 54-acre site is where several thousand American Indians lived from A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1550. Regarded as the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast, the Etowah Indian Mounds features six earthen mounds, a village area, a plaza, borrow pits and a defensive ditch.
Admission to A Mid-Winter’s Day at Etowah will be $6 for adults; $4 for youth 6 to 17; and $2 for children 5 and younger. For more information, visit www.gastateparks.org/EtowahMounds or call 770-387-3747.