Monday, July 23, 2018

Foundation For Sustainable Forests: Personal Stories Of Landowners Planting, Sustaining Their Future

The Summer newsletter of the Foundation For Sustainable Forests is now available featuring two personal stories about how forest landowners are planting and sustaining their future--
Teens Help Plant The Future
By Bob Slagter
Bob’s family owns a ~50 acre wooded property along Caldwell Creek in Warren County. In 2013 Bob and his family made the significant decision to entrust the Foundation For Sustainable Forests with the future of that land.
As part of our ongoing, cooperative stewardship, trees and shrubs were planted along the creek bank this past spring--
It was 28 degrees on April 10, but the ground was muddy under the crust. As I looked down my driveway about a quarter of a mile, a group of figures emerged, marching toward the creek house.
They were 40 high schoolers the bus let off to work on a riparian buffer planting on my property.
I was excited about the project, as my creek needs all the help we can give it, and 435 trees would certainly be a tremendous addition to water quality improvements.
But kids working on a freezing cold morning in the soggy creek bottom?
Well, the prospect seemed dismal at best. After all, if you’ve been around teenagers, you know that their reputation for being noncommunicative tweeters is legendary.
The activities began with DCNR, NRCS, County Conservation, and, most importantly, their wonderful teacher explaining to the kids exactly what was needed and precisely how it was to be done.
Interjecting here, I am known by DCNR as mass murderer of seedlings, having planted some 250 trees on my property with maybe a 10 percent success rate. If I touch a tender little sprout, it’s curtains for that baby.
What chance would these kids have to plant trees successfully and why would they possibly care about trees out here in the middle of nowhere?
I had a lot to learn that day about kids in the woods.
First, they listened, they were attentive and they actually did seem to care. Next, they jumped into the work with a high level of energy. Could it be they welcomed the work?
I’m talking digging and handling wet dirt with your hands on a frosty morning. Nobody would want to do that, and, if they did, there would certainly be a huge helping of complaining about it.
What was it that I heard? Laughing, talking, even some singing… I was shocked! They did exactly as instructed, planted each tree with care — almost reverence — and did not stop until lunch when a dozen pizzas disappeared with an almost audible whoosh.
Then after lunch, it was back to work without being asked. They completed the project by 2:30 in the afternoon, scrubbed the tools, and thanked me for letting them come out to my place to work.
Valuable lessons here are many, not the least of which is teens minus cellular devices equals really cool people. And, these kids do this several times a year.
If you were to add it up, the long-term good they are doing for themselves and their own future teenagers is very significant, not just in work ethic but also in physical protection of cold fresh water, something in dwindling supply and of the utmost importance.
If you are considering a planting project, contact any of the agencies mentioned above or contact me, and I’ll help point you in the right direction.
You will help the forest, help the water, help the kids as they “Plant Their Future,” and you will learn that we are leaving the world in very good hands.
Loving The Land
By Ellis Giacomelli, edited by Jane Woods
Jane Ewing Woods walked with me one early fall morning to show me special wooded spaces and one very special hilltop.
When Jane was seven or eight years old, her father, Orlo Ewing, brought a telescope outside in the front yard of their hilltop home in Corry, Pennsylvania. That evening, through the telescope and with her father’s guidance, Jane saw the rings of Saturn: one powerful and magical moment. Many more followed.
Jane’s father, Orlo Ewing, purchased the 184-acre Corry property in 1949. Occasional piles of field stone along the eastern edge of the woodlot hint at the land’s historical uses; they are a sign of pasturing for agriculture after forest clearing.
Remnants of hand-made saws and other tools have been found at a site in the woods as well.
Even before building their hilltop home, Orlo got busy right away and planted 20,000 pine trees. When employment changes forced the young Ewing family to relocate in the mid-1950’s, the property was sold to a church foundation for development into a campground.
Several years later when the Ewings returned to PA, Orlo learned that campground plans had been abandoned, making the property available again. Orlo and Ruth Ewing were delighted to repurchase their acreage, which became a place for family and friends to gather, and provided a lovely setting for their final years.
After their passing, the open hilltop pasture acreage was sold to maintain its use and vitality, but the forest has remained in the family for these 67 years.
Jane inherited the property in 1990 and began attending seminars and field workshops to learn more about forest management and ecology, along with touring her woodlot with foresters for further perspective and education.
Through these experiences, she has learned the merits of the practices and “worst-first” forestry of Troy Firth, our [Foundation’s] founder.
Jane adamantly views herself as a “temporary guardian” of the land. “It really belongs to God. It’s my privilege to be charged with its protection and conservation for the future,” she said.
Click Here to read the Foundation’s entire newsletter.
Upcoming Events
Here are several upcoming events related to the Foundation For Sustainable Forests--
-- August 14: Erie Gives Day
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Foundation For Sustainable Forests website.  Click Here to support their work.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner