Adventures in Forest Ecology 9/17/2016

In the old growth stand
In the old growth stand

I took this excellent Cedar River Watershed Education Center (CRWEC) tour last year and I am going to take it again next year.  And just like last year we visited the oldest stand of trees in the area, 700 year-old giants.  It is a signal joy to be able to have that experience.

And we got to do some bushwhacking along the way.  It was raining pretty hard most of the day (the tour was seven hours, 9A to 4P) and the forest creeks were running a little high.  We had fun crossing the creek in the old growth stand:

We got our feet a little wet
We got our feet a little wet

The rain did not dampen anyone’s spirits that I could see.  Almost everyone who was registered showed up and I heard zero complaints in spite of the inclement conditions.  We all dressed for the weather.

Sometimes it rains around here....
Sometimes it rains around here….

Our guides, Rolf Gersonde and Bill Richards, who are both scientists and passionately devoted to the watershed and their restoration mission, made the day both fun and educational.

Bill Richards
Bill Richards
Rolf Gersonde
Rolf Gersonde

Towards the end we had a fascinating discussion about what we all saw for the future of watershed restoration.  Climate change is already a reality.  The watershed is already changing.  More and more trees are unhealthy because of drought – not so bad this year but what if we have trouble every other year?

Should we start introducing species that we think would thrive in the climate of the future, say fifty years out?  Should we even try?

The CRWEC staff and facilities are, if not exactly hidden around here, not nearly as prominent as they should be.  I hope everyone who lives around here, and our visitors from the east, take the time to travel a few miles east on I-90 and check out the CRWEC and its beautiful environs (like Rattlesnake Lake and mountain).

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