No 9 – Meadow Maintenance in Cerhovice

This week we volunteered with Zvoneček, a local affiliate of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation. The group educates, promotes and advises on the importance of conservation throughout Prague and its surrounding towns. One of its areas of focus is the maintenance of natural meadows in the region. Our family knew very little about meadows prior to working with the group. While we still couldn’t consider ourselves to be experts, we definitely left the experience with a greater understanding and appreciation for the ecosystems existing within these important grasslands.

Semi-natural hay meadows have become one of the scarcest grassland types remaining, yet they are important habitats for many different plants, insects and other wildlife. An important step in maintaining these areas is, surprisingly, cutting them. By mowing meadows at specific times of the spring and summer seasons, farmers and, in this case, conservationists, ensure meadows and the many species living within them continue to exist.
A protected flower that calls the meadow home

We woke up early and drove west from Prague to reach a gravel road outside the town of Cerhovice. While we waited to meet up with the folks from Zvoneček, the girls spotted two deer frolicking through a nearby field. It set the tone for the day quite nicely. Gabriela, Teresa and Peter arrived soon with their van full of equipment and supplies. After walking through a field together, we arrived at the meadow we would be cutting. Throughout the day, Gabriela mowed and Peter weed-wacked, while Teresa and the rest of us raked the grass into piles which will later be hauled off and fed to local livestock.

Brian before the cutting begins
Tracey adding to a growing pile
Brian in the after photo

Though Gabriela and I weren’t certain how much the girls would be able to participate with this project (given the behemoth grass cutter and loud weed wacker) they did a great job of raking. Plus, there were plenty of trees to climb and forts to invent in the woods bordering the meadow when they needed a little break. The only downside of the day came when Emily got stung by a massive hornet. However, the little trooper was back at raking a short while later.
The girls raking
Grabriela on the mower
Liv climbing
You may not be able to see it but its there

Our day was cut short when dark clouds rolled in and began dumping rain on us, forcing us to make a mad dash back to the cars. We send out a big thank you to Gabriela, Teresa and Peter for letting us help them for the day. We’re going to try to give them a hand in another meadow before we leave the Czech Republic in September. That’s 9 service projects down, only 91 to go – slowly but surely we’re getting there! :-)
Meadow Mowers





About the Author

Tracey Carisch

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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1 Comment

  1. Reading about this part of your trip brought back memories for me . I used to work for The Nature Conservancy and did many such projects . Learning about nature always seemed to be fulfilling and “sticks with you”…I guess because it’s all around us ? Keep learning guys !!! You inspire me !

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