Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Birds of all shapes, sizes and colors!

Yesterday Aaron and Graham presented their bird, amphibian and reptile survey findings.

Aaron and Graham presenting to the Farm family and crew.
Throughout their two months of surveying, they spotted 73 different species of birds (including the yellow-bellied sapsucker that was posted on our Facebook page)!

A photo collage of all the birds spotted on the Farm - click here to see a labeled collage.

We have six distinct types of habitat here (mature forests, ag fields, ponds, grasslands, tree plantations and marshland), so it was interesting to learn about the species that were attracted to each area of the Farm. Our plantation areas, or stands with relatively young trees, seem to be most attractive to birds - and also offered Aaron and Graham the best opportunity to view a wide variety of birds.

They're working on a more in-depth report and management suggestions; we'll share a copy of it here once it's ready to go!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cleaning up Husker Road

This photo was taken  about half way through  the project.

Over the past few weeks Arik, Graham, and I have been diligently working on the south side of Husker Road to improve aesthetics and prepare it for future trees. Removing the under story vegetation will allow for more sunlight to hit Husker Road in the winter and allow for the snow to melt more easily. 

This particular area has been habitat to buckthorn, honeysuckle and grapevine for approximately the last fifteen years. The grapevine that we removed was unbelievably huge! 

When the vines get this big they can suffocate the host trees. They climb up the trunk and take over the canopy with their broad leaves shading out the other leaves and  twist tightly around the branches. Arik and I have decided to remove the vine when and where we can.

Here Arik is removing a grape vine and Graham is rolling up a bit of rusty barbed wire.
This stretch of land that we have been working on is not very large, but it has a lot of history and character. We left a couple of neat looking snags and stumps that keep stories from the past alive. We removed an old barbed wire fence that at one point must have been used to outline a pasture for cattle. Along the fence we found glass soda bottles and old Pabst Blue Ribbon cans. It is interesting to see into the past of the people that worked the land before us.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Snakes alive!

How many snakes do you see in this photo? Scroll down for the answer!
In addition to the bird survey, Graham and Aaron are also conducting reptile (snakes!) and amphibian (frogs!) surveys on the Farm this summer. All of these surveys will help us understand the different species and varieties of creatures that habitat here.

Last week I told Graham I would "love" to go along with him when he does his next snake survey. Well, not literally love it - snakes creep me out! - but interesting to see what it was all about. However this morning I was unprepared when Graham rolled up to the office and told me today was the day - my opportunity to see snakes! It's probably a good thing I forgot - likely would have kept myself awake last night, fretting about it.

A Northern redbelly getting comfy in Graham's hand. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tears in my coffee

This is not exactly a photo of vitality. It is a photo of one of the Kentucky coffee trees that was planted this spring here on Arington Tree Farm. The reason for this saplings current sad state isn't a mystery to us. But, it is most definitely a learning experience.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Feeding "The Hungry Hippo"

Hi! For those of you who have not met me yet, my name is Lyndsey, and I am a summer intern at the tree farm. I am working at the farm in partnership with the Aldo Leopold Foundation (ALF). I spend three days a week at ALF and two days at the farm. While at the farm I spend most days working with Arik. 

We began working on a timber stand improvement (TSI) project on June 12th. We are working in the Spruce/ Hardwood stand just north west of the Husker Barn. The stand was planted in 2000 with goals of tall straight hardwoods. The Spruce is planted to increase the straightness of the hardwoods. The plan is to remove the spruce for pulpwood after about 30 years to allow the hardwoods to better utilize the space and nutrients. 

The picture above shows what the stand looked like before we started the project. The stand has rows of Spruce with rows of oak, walnut, and hickory between them. We have been working hard to clean up the rows and remove some of the under story species.