This is a NYS Parks Taconic Region Challenge cache!
Everyone has heard that earthworms are great for our gardens. And perhaps this wise old tale is one of the reasons why we never question whether earthworms are good for our forest or not.
It is guessed that all native earthworms in most of the US disappeared more than 10,000 years ago during an ice age. The earthworms you find in the US today were accidentally introduced here as early as the 1600s, with European colonization, and then again in the 2000s with a rise in Asian plant imports to the US.
Invasive worms eat soil, leaves, tree seeds, fungi, and microorganisms that normally help trees grow. When they defecate, they break down the top layer of soil (the humus), reducing the rich layer of nutrients where young trees and wildflowers grow. Ultimately, they alter soil chemistry, reduce leaf litter, and disrupt microbial interactions. This makes it easier for invasive shrubs and vines to grow and harder for native trees to grow. When a forest becomes overgrown with invasives and native trees are unable to grow, biodiversity decreases and habitats are lost.
What do we do about this? 1st, When you go fishing, do not use live bait. 2nd, Join Rockefeller State Park Preserve’s volunteer stewardship team and help improve habitat conditions to favor native plants and animals (Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org for more info). 3rd, Share this information with your friends. 4th, Never transport soil or plant materials outside of a 30 mile radius—invasive worm eggs could be hidden from site **buy local this growing season**
Dogs are allowed on leash.
This cache has been placed as part of the New York State Taconic Region Geocache Challenge. There are 76 caches hidden within 16 state parks and historic sites in the Taconic Region, geocachers finding 45 or more will be eligible to receive a 2018 Mills Norrie State Park commemorative and trackable geocoin. If you are interested in taking the challenge, you can pick up a geocaching passport at any of the participating parks and sites or download it at www.parks.ny.gov .
There is a $6 daily parking fee, unless you have a New York State Empire Pass, A Golden Park Pass, or a Group/Individual Access Pass.