Mariton: Nature Camp – Forests

July 25, 2011

Mariton’s Nature Camp started today.  With Plants as our theme, today’s guest speaker was Tim Dugan from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry.  Tim is the Assistant District Forester for District 17, which is Southeastern Pennsylvania.  He works to keep our State Forests in his district healthy.  While Pennsylvania has a lot of publicly owned forest lands, most of the state’s forest is privately owned.  So, Bureau Foresters works with private landowners to help them match their management goals with the long term goal of a healthy forest.

Forest management is long term stewardship.  As Tim noted, the forests that he helps manage today may not be mature until long after he retires.  So, he has the responsibility to carry on the vision of Foresters before him, while passing on his responsibility and trust to those Foresters that follow in his footsteps.

Tim started our morning talking about his job, and then presented some amazing fun facts about trees in or forests.  For instance, the black T-shaped mark in the “tree cookie” above indicates that the tree was in a fire when it was just a sapling.  We then took a walk to look at some of the interesting trees that grow at Mariton.

Of growing concern to Foresters is the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer, an introduced insect that has wiped out Ash trees in some areas of the country.  It was recently found in Wayne County, which is not that far from us.  One of the easiest ways for it to reach an area is moving firewood.  Some people harvest firewood in another part of the state and bring it home.  Campers may also carry firewood from their home to a campsite.  Either way, if the wood is harboring the Borer (or other insect pests) it can be transported and introduced to a new area.  Ash trees are one of the most abundant trees  in southeastern Pennsylvania, so the effects could be devastating.  (All photos by Carole Mebus.)