Crow’s Nest: Fire & Ice!

September 24, 2012

We had a fun event this weekend. Natural Lands Trust has such great members: engaged and engaging!

Here are a few photos from the event taken by volunteer Jim Moffett. Above, Darin Groff gives a presentation about the conditions and tactical concerns in fighting the Hopewell Fire this past April. Geographic Information Systems analyst Mike McGeehin prepared the map of the fire on Darin’s right.

Then the group took a hayride (below) and hike up to see a portion of the burned area.

We saw a site where the fire had backed down the hill and another where a head fire was pushed through by high winds. Natural Lands Trust Board Member and Ecologist Dr. Roger Latham, and Director of Science Dr. Jim Thorne, offered some background on fire ecology, the effects of Native American use of prescribed fire, and the state of fire in Pennsylvania today. Below, Roger addresses the group:

The forest has greened up, but the whole story of the regenerating forest is a bit more complicated. Some effects of the fire, note Roger and Jim, are not yet visible and some of the seedlings (such as tuliptree) that are coming up now will not persist under the shade of the surviving canopy. A prescribed fire in these woods after a few years would further benefit oak regeneration and, since oaks support the greatest number of native species from insects to birds and mammals, create the best wildlife habitat.

At the end of the hike we returned to the Crow’s Nest barn for ice cream and more discussion. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

Posted by Daniel Barringer on September 24, 2012.