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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in Animal Care.

In this Badge Bit you will create a brush pile that is at least five feet tall and five feet wide.



Here is some general information on the topic:
 - Maintaining and Enhancing Wildlife Habitats

Here are some articles on it:
 - Habitat Piles for Wildlife
 - Brush Piles for Wildlife Habitat
 - Brush for Habitat
 - Brush Piles for Backyard Habitat
 - Brush Piles in Ecosystem Gardening
 - Brush Piles for Birds







To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
 - you must make a brush pile at least five feet tall and five feet wide
 - dense enough that you can't see through the pile

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must:
 - post a picture of a location without a brush pile
 - post a picture of the  brush pile under construction
 - post a picture of the completed brush pile at that same spot that is obviously at least five feet tall and five feet wide
COMMENTS:
 
Leif Ing
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Location: zone 6 (Kansas City)
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My brush pile critter hotel, from limbs taken off last week. Used about 1 1/2 trees worth of limbs roughly from the trees we cut and peeled last week.

Two views of the finished pile, mostly gathered from whatever limbs were closest. Also put the bark peelings scattered throughout... maybe they’ll stay a bit drier when it’s raining outside!
brush-pile-critter-hotel.jpeg
brush pile critter hotel
brush pile critter hotel
3178E1AE-DDD8-4724-A768-86F9FB2D793C.jpeg
brush pile critter hotel
brush pile critter hotel
773F228B-9F78-4990-A695-7BBDE42649C7.jpeg
brush pile critter hotel
brush pile critter hotel
Staff note (Mike Barkley) :

I certify this BB is complete.

 
Mike Haasl
master steward
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I made a brush pile today at the 2019 PEP1 event.  I took the branches from a large fir that I cut down earlier in the week and hauled them uphill to Jocelyn and Paul's back yard to a place where they wanted a brushy wall.  Daryl had a pile going to the left of mine so together they will make for lots of habitat.  Final size is a bit over 5' high and wide and about 10-15' long.  I arranged all the branches on the downhill side so the view from the yard is prettier.
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Pile almost done
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All done :)
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[Thumbnail for 20190531_094535_resized.jpg]
Needs a pile
Staff note (paul wheaton) :

I certify that this BB is complete!

 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
Posts: 377
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Dave Burton wrote:
To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must:
 - post a picture of a location without a brush pile
 - post a picture of the  brush pile under construction
 - post a picture of the completed brush pile at that same spot that is obviously at least five feet tall and five feet wide



Oh, goodness! I could have earned this badge five times over. But I'm not moving the giant brush piles to take the before/during/after photos! LOL!

 
jared strand
Posts: 58
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Yeah, if the pile is built it's obvious you didn't just stumble upon it.  I don't know about 5 feet high either, I have thinned small forests and had a pile 40x40 and it was maybe 6 feet high.  I tend to throw branches the same way, so they create a tight weave.  If it's too open it will collapse to nothing pretty quick.  
 
Robin Katz
Posts: 127
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We just created a lot of these piles in the past month, then chipped them for putting back on the soil and the garden beds. Good thing we still have a few thousand trees yet to thin out of the forest.
 
paul wheaton
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Robin Katz wrote:We just created a lot of these piles in the past month, then chipped them for putting back on the soil and the garden beds. Good thing we still have a few thousand trees yet to thin out of the forest.



The function of these brush piles is to not chip or burn them - but to leave them for years to come to facilitate wildlife habitat.  Specifically, the critters that will protect your growies from unwanted critters.
 
Robin Katz
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Paul,

I understand that part, and we will be making some of these for the wildlife now that I see how beneficial they are (although I still needed the chips for soil building). I like the idea of other uses for brush than burning it, which is what everyone does around here. Waste of good biomass.
 
jared strand
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Hmm, my brush piles have always attracted the animals that eat my garden- namely, rabbits and woodchucks. I still make brush piles though...just don't think to document the process..
 
paul wheaton
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When sepp holzer has a problem with a critter, he puts out lots of goodies to attract the problem critter.  It turns out that that also attracts the predators of that critter.

 
Alex Ames
Posts: 415
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The rabbit lives here. He exits in a hurry when I throw brush on. My other brush pile is filling a hole it is twice this size but is only slightly above ground level.
The house wrens seem to like it.
brush-pile-for-rabbit.jpeg
brush pile for rabbit
brush pile for rabbit
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
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My salmonberry is always trying to take over my yard and fruit trees. So, today I pruned a bunch out and piled them up!

The lovely picture of my pile was taken by my 2 year old daughter, after multiple pictures of her hand and the grass.... :D

(Edit: Looks like I need a progress picture. I'll just cut some more salmonberries tomorrow and add them to the pile and take another picture!)

20190626_121246-1-.jpg
A whole bunch of salmonberry pruned out of the hedge
A whole bunch of salmonberry pruned out of the hedge
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I'm 5'4 inches, and here is my pile, taller than me, and wider than my armspan!
I'm 5'4 inches, and here is my pile, taller than me, and wider than my armspan!
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
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Added another wheel barrow of salmonberries and got another picture, as well a "after" picture from the same angle as my "before."
IMG_20190627_112831-1-.jpg
Wa-la! A Pile!
Wa-la! A Pile!
IMG_20190627_112929-1-.jpg
Now with pile between my fruit trees.
Now with pile between my fruit trees.
Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

I certify this BB complete!

 
Dave Burton
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This is the area where I am building my brush pile. It is located west and upslope of my hugelkultur bed on Plum Plateau at Basecamp.



This is my brush pile after I spent the remaining sunlight working on it after Bootcamp.



This is another in progress photo of my brush pile.



This is my brush pile completed that is obviously more than five feet tall and five feet wide, with measuring tapes.



The mostly vertical measuring tape reads a little more than 8 feet, and the measuring tape on the ground reads a bit more than 9 feet.



This is a picture showing my brush pile, in relationship to my hugelkultur on Pulm Plateau. This is to demonstrate that my brush pile is located near a garden.

Staff note (Nicole Alderman) :

I hereby certify that this badge bit is complete!

 
Chris Sugg
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Here is my BB evidence:
Hauling brush, Area without brush pile, Final brush pile(fence post on left is 5ft tall for reference), Brush pile close up.
73323FD6-4985-4F9E-91F7-F904FDD949B2.jpeg
Hauling brush
Hauling brush
CA02E6A4-DFB9-4222-892B-4E6146E06638.jpeg
No brush pile
No brush pile
25095D7A-B19B-4F7D-8FF9-69DFAE45AADD.jpeg
Brush pile far away
Brush pile far away
CD0A7E44-B5E7-495E-958C-8D5FC0DD7D7F.jpeg
Brush pile up close
Brush pile up close
Staff note (Nicole Alderman) :

I hereby certify that this badge bit is complete!

 
jared strand
Posts: 58
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Here's my brush pile.  It was started well before this thread, and I'm not about to move it or start another one just to prove something.
I just threw 3-4 shrubs worth of dead birch and sucker cherry trees on it.  A year and a half, and I can still see over the pile, so it is MAYBE 5 feet high.  But it's about 25 feet wide by 10 deep.  I guess I don't qualify for any badge.  But that's OK, I got nothing to prove.  I have animal shelter.
brush-pile-for-wildlife.jpg
brush pile for wildlife
brush pile for wildlife
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
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I actually have a pile like that, too. We've been adding to it since we moved in 7 years ago, so I have no before pictures. To get the badge bit, I just made another pile nearby it, and took the pictures, and then added it to the other one. Sure, it was a bit more work, but I wanted the shiny badge, so I just did it.
 
Ash Jackson
gardener
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Hello there!



At the 2019 PEP Jamboree, I cut down a tree. Then I limbed it. Then I used the limbs to make a brush pile. Turns out, it's right next to Mike's! Maybe our brush piles will be buddies, eh?
Screenshot_20200403-220024.png
No brush pile... Yet
No brush pile... Yet
Screenshot_20200403-220048.png
404 error: Under construction
404 error: Under construction
Screenshot_20200403-220233.png
Finito!
Finito! I'm 6' tall
Screenshot_20200403-220244.png
Finite!
Finite! My arms are 6'-4"
Staff note (Nicole Alderman) :

I hereby certify that this badge bit is complete!

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
master pollinator
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I think I can do this BB as soon as I've got time. I already have a brush pile, but it isn't in the right spot. And I have more hedges and bushes to trim, so there will be plenty for a pile 5 ft wide and 5 ft high (I think). Now I'll have to think of a nice spot to put that pile.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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I can attest to the value of these piles for birds. Mine are accidental, the slash from trimming and tree removal that has to dry before burning. I notice that, for the first year especially, chickadees and house wrens work these piles methodically. I assume the newly cut green branches create a great insect habitat, and the birds are feasting on high-calorie snacks.
 
Mike Haasl
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:I think I can do this BB as soon as I've got time. I already have a brush pile, but it isn't in the right spot.  

Remember to take all the required pictures  I've messed that up more than once...
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
master pollinator
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Mike Haasl wrote:

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:I think I can do this BB as soon as I've got time. I already have a brush pile, but it isn't in the right spot.  

Remember to take all the required pictures  I've messed that up more than once...

Thank you Mike, for that reminder.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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if my Brush Pile will ever be 5 ft wide and 5 ft high ... I don't know.
But anyway I started building it, and made these photos:

It will come in this spot. Between the willows and the 'stairs'.


I used my son's tool to make deep holes to put large sticks in that mark the border of the Brush Pile.


Two large sticks are put in the holes. Probably later I will weave willow branches in here


First load of brush branches for the pile


The Brush Pile as it is now. Four loads of old branches and some newly cut ones. Now I'll have to find and cut many more to get the proper size of Brush Pile!
When it's 5 feet high, I'll post a new photo here (editing this post)
 
D.W. Stratton
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I used burning bush and American bittersweet which I spent all afternoon clearing out of my woods. Damned invasives. 😡

Anyway, I have a before, after, and several mid-construction photos along with a selfie in front of the pile. I'm 6'4" and the pile is over my head and wider than I am tall ladder I reckon it's probably about 7x7 and arranged stook-style, sorry of like how the Amish (and everyone before the 20th century) dry grain. It's open enough for passerines (song birds) and little woodland critters and insects to get into, but not big enough for hawks and other predators.

It's about 20 feet from my tomato and cucumber patch which is all I put in this year because we were dealing with the insanity if moving right at the prime planting time because COVID delayed our move in date. Blah. Guess I'm super to wait a year to observe before making changes any way, so there you go.
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I'm 6'4" and it's over my head
I'm 6'4" and it's over my head
Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

Could you put something in the picture to allow certifiers to know if it's over 5'?

Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

I certify this BB complete along with your new air badge in Animal Care!

 
Rob Lineberger
gardener
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Hello, I have brushed a pile!







Hand for scale? Or me?  I'm 5'9" and it goes up past my shoulder. I also attempted the measuring tape.







Per Mike's reasonable request I have put in a wheelbarrow for scale and outlined the pile.  There really isn't any angle where it isn't against trees because it is in the middle of a bunch of trees.  Also guess what?  Something is already building a nest there!  It looks like a birdhornet nest.





Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

I'm sorry, it's really hard to tell from those photos how big the pile actually is. Could you put something by the pile that is a known height and take a picture or two from a distance? Maybe from the clearing so there isn't stuff obscuring the view? or clear the view a bit? It's hard to tell what's pile and what's not...

 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
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Using your wheelbarrow as a measuring stick, it looks to only be about 4 feet tall (I don't think tall sticks jutting out from the top count?). Could you add a bit more to the top?

(And yeah, this part of it gets frustrating, because as you add more, it compacts more, and it seems hard to get it tall enough--at least that's what happened with mine! But, just keep adding too it, and you'll get there!)
 
Rob Lineberger
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Using your wheelbarrow as a measuring stick, it looks to only be about 4 feet tall (I don't think tall sticks jutting out from the top count?). Could you add a bit more to the top?

(And yeah, this part of it gets frustrating, because as you add more, it compacts more, and it seems hard to get it tall enough--at least that's what happened with mine! But, just keep adding too it, and you'll get there!)



Thanks Mike.  Nicole, I will add more brush on top just for you.  Perspective is weird in such close quarters but it certainly does not hurt to give the murder hornets more space.
 
Rob Lineberger
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Here is another bit of brush, with wheelbarrow for scale:



Here is as far back as I can get to give a sense of scale.  It's still hard to gauge but it's at least 8, maybe 9 feet tall, and not just little sticks at the top either.  There's a whole tree up there about six feet from the ground, horizontal, with lots of branches and stuff.  



That's my final offer.  



Staff note (Nicole Alderman) :

I hereby certify that this badge bit is complete!

 
Justyn Mavis
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update: I re-read the requirements, and read them wrong in the first place. sorry about that. :)
Here is my large brush pile I've been building up for the last few years as large branches are collected this is where they go. 50 feet on the back side of the brush pile is where one of my gardens are located. The width of this pile is 30 or so feed wide. The pile was started from an old tree falling and I've just been adding to it.
20201013_175622_HDR.jpg
Brush Pile
Brush Pile
20201013_175652.jpg
5+feet
5+feet
Staff note :

Looks like you're missing one or two photos:
- post a picture of a location without a brush pile
- post a picture of the brush pile under construction

 
Rebecca Blake
Posts: 76
Location: New Braunfels, TX, Zone 8b, multi-generational suburban household
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Slowly but surely going after the unkempt trees in our suburban lot. Happy we have a good number of them compared to many others :)

Also happy to learn that brush piles have a positive use for our garden! My spot I picked was a bit inconvenient to add brush to, but I have to keep the other inhabitants of the house and neighborhood happy so it's best kept in the back.
Empty-spot.jpg
Empty spot
Empty spot
Brush-Pile.jpg
This was my finished picture before I realized I forgot my in progress photo....
This was my finished picture before I realized I forgot my in progress photo....
Complete.jpg
Added some limbs to show progress!
Added some limbs to show progress!
5-Ft-Tall.jpg
finished height
finished height
Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

I certify this BB complete!

 
Penny McLoughlin
pollinator
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Here's my brush pile.
20201021_083808.jpg
Area for a brush pile
Area for a brush pile
20201021_091507.jpg
Under construction
Under construction
20201021_093605.jpg
Finished pile
Finished pile
20201021_093757.jpg
Finished height
Finished height
Staff note (jordan barton) :

I hereby certify this badge bit complete!

 
No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. This time, do it with this tiny ad:
2021 RMH Jamboree planning thread!
https://permies.com/wiki/148835/permaculture-projects/RMH-Jamboree-planning-thread
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