Have you driven past Carolin’s Grove recently and noticed the work we have done to clear out some of treefall from Hurricane Sandy? Well, it’s time to stop in and take a few minutes to see the change. With funding from the family of the original donors of this Preserve and support from the Land Trust Alliance, we hired a tree crew, Emerald Organic, to remove dead and downed trees that prevented us from accessing the area for management of invasive species and native plant protection. This part of the forest is now safe for visitors to explore.
While there are large gaps among the towering spruce trees in the Grove, there are also many young saplings, some already above the height of deer browse. We aim to influence the regeneration of this forest to include a mix of deciduous trees and conifers, with berry and nut producing shrubs in the understory to support birds and other wildlife. This month and next, volunteers and students including the entire third grade at Pound Ridge Elementary School will help to plant in the largest forest gaps. More volunteers are always welcome, including those who can stop by and water during dry periods in summer.
We have White pine, Pitch pine, Eastern red cedar, American hazelnut and Northern bayberry saplings to plant, some of which were donated by the New York State School Seedling Program. We are also going to plant wildflowers that are important for pollinating insects, such as Grey goldenrod, Milkweed, and Wild bergamot, grown in our own native plant nursery at the Armstrong Preserve and Education Center. Please see this blog post for more information on the PRLC Prop Lab.
How’s this for a paradox? I am going to use my computer today to tell you about the many benefits of spending time outdoors in the natural world. You likely already know this – you crave the sun on your face or the feel of soft earth underfoot. Think of the joy in watching a child run after butterflies, or running after them yourself, and consider that this natural freedom and engagement is important to our overall well-being and humanity.
Henry David Thoreau experienced the healing powers of nature at Walden Pond, and John Burroughs at Slabsides. Great thinkers from Aristotle to E. O. Wilson have used the term biophilia to describe what is in essence our deep love for life. Cynics might point out that the environmental crisis suggests otherwise, but Wilson hypothesizes that there is an instinctive and inescapable bond between us and other living systems. This is both biological and spiritual in nature, and it explains why we love our pets and our gardens and the notion of wilderness. It explains why I keep getting pulled out my office door to find what bird is calling. (I think we are seeing the first fall migrants on this cool morning.)
Just look at these happy faces on our preserve volunteers!
If you’ve had enough time at your screen and want to get outside, stop reading now and go for a hike at one of our many preserves in Pound Ridge (map). To learn more about ways to engage yourself and your family in free-range discovery and other games and activities for life-long love of nature, you can attend our free workshop tomorrow at the Armstrong Preserve & Education Center (directions), from 2 to 4pm. The public is invited to share ideas and to tour the outdoor classrooms on the Preserve on what looks to be a beautiful summer afternoon. Please contact me for more information or visit our website at www.prlc.net.