Written by Forager Paul B.
This past November, I, along with my mother, sister, and younger brother, had the pleasure of planting dune grass at the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge along the coast in Virginia Beach. The refuge houses a variety of different creatures including snakes, birds, frogs, turtles and otters. Planting dune grass is one way to help stop erosion. Early in the morning we arrived around 8:30am. After we signed in, we went inside a small museum where we watched a short video on the steps on planting the grass without damaging them. The steps included digging a hole 10-12 inches deep, dropping a few granules of fertilizer inside, inserting and covering the roots of the grass and last, but not least, naming it. Yes, name your plant! I thought that part was a little peculiar. I named my first plant Charlie, followed by Bob, Billy Bob, Joe, Billy Bob Joe. I ran out of Ideas pretty quickly.
The small museum also had a menagerie of pieces from preserved animals laid on a table for observation. The table had parts from birds and turtle shells, preserved stingrays and bones. There was even a tiger hide and a whale vertebra/backbone in a display case! A passage under the tiger hide explained how it was confiscated by poachers and donated to the small museum at Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. All of these amazing specimens made me never want to leave! After I had checked out the museum for a while, it was time to plant the dune grass.
We went outside and received our 400 plants and set out for our predetermined planting location. On the way, we passed several dunes and walked along the shoreline, which was dotted with ghost crabs, all varying in size. While we were planting, we had the opportunity to spot a pod of dolphins jumping and playing in the water offshore. This, combined with the cool temperatures and warm breeze, made for an enjoyable morning. I found that planting dune grass for the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge to be refreshing and enjoyable, and is why I would gladly do it again.