Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Walking in the Forest with Walbridge School

Last week we hosted our friends from Walbridge School for National Walk in the Forest Day. The day, promoted by American Forest Foundation and Society of American Foresters, is an opportunity to engage the community in nature and explore all the benefits of forests. Teaching others about sustainable forestry is one of the goals of Arington Tree Farm, so we welcomed this opportunity to share our woods!

Partly sunny skies and 70 degree temperatures greeted the students as they arrived that morning. (We had originally planned the day for Friday, Oct. 19 -- which was 45 and rainy! Good call in rescheduling!) Borrowing a page from Aldo Leopold's lesson plans, we structured the day around the principles of "observe, participate and reflect."

We started the day off with a walk in the woods - a great way to observe. Arik engaged the students in a tree identification activity, using leaves to identify trees. It was a fun activity and many wildlife sightings (cranes, geese, a stray cat!) made the walk even more exciting.

A majestic Bur Oak, approximately 150-200 years old.

Monday, October 22, 2012

More rain!

At Arington Tree Farm we save many of our indoor projects for the winter months or for rainy days. Needless to say with the drought of 2012, rain days have been scarce. However, the last few weeks have given me plenty of chances to work in the shop. The photo above was taken looking out of the shop door. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why Prune?

This is a post about pruning. Get it... prunes?!?!

Friday humor aside, pruning is important to help trees develop straight trunks (increases their timber value) and encourages healthy growth. Pruning also helps raise the canopy to make mowing easier and keeps the trees looking nicer.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Safety First!

Last Saturday, Arington Tree Farm hosted a chainsaw safety course. The course, a program of Blackhawk Chapter of WWOA, was put on by Jim Olive, an instructor from Chainsaw Safety Specialists. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

ATF Goes on a Field Trip

We have all been putting in some long days on the tree farm this fall (including Saturday’s chainsaw safety course – more coming on that!), so today Joe took us on a “field trip.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ponds revealed!

As I mentioned last week, a pond project is underway at the farm. I'm working on removing willows to make the ponds accessible. They will eventually be surveyed and excavated.

To remove the willows from the site, I've been using the Bobcat with tree shear attachment. Above is an action photo of our tree shear. The shear will cut trees up to 14 inches. It has a grapple attachment that will hold the tree as we move it to either a brush pile or the chipper. This particular model is made by the company Tree Terminator. The shear does get somewhat challenging to use in tight areas. However, it worked great for this project, as this was all out in the open.

And here is a completed photo of both ponds with all the willows removed. The next step in this project will be to have a survey completed and than dig out the ponds to the appropriate size. 
Stay tuned!