We have discussed "Forest Forensics" or "Reading the Forested Landscape" with Author & Professor--Tom Wessels before. In that episode, Tom extensively goes into observations about trees, terrain-factors, stone walls, and more to gain insight about the history of a forest in New England. In this episode, we'll stick to mainly the trees. We'll cover one example-forest in Ulster County to illustrate how you might tell which trees grew first, second, and third and what might have caused them to grow in the first place and afterwards.
Mountain Top Arboretum is a public garden in the Catskill Mountains dedicated to displaying and managing native plant communities of the northeastern US, in addition to curating its collection of cold-hardy native and exotic trees. Its mountain top elevation of 2,400 feet at the top of the New York City Watershed creates a unique environment for education, research and pure enjoyment of the spectacular and historic Catskills landscape. The Arboretum trails and boardwalks connect 178 acres of plant collections, natural meadows, wetlands, forest and Devonian bedrock—a natural sanctuary for visitors interested in horticulture, birding, geology, local craftsmanship, hiking and snowshoeing!
Marc Wolf is Mountain Top Arboretum's Executive Director.
May 1st through May 31st is hunting season for some in New York State; It marks the spring turkey season. Unlike in the fall, spring turkey hunting includes a lot of "action" since turkeys can be "called" in. Responsive gobblers in an otherwise quiet forest is a memory not easily forgotten. We'll discuss some basic biology of the eastern wild turkey as well as hunting techniques, stories, and more.
WIOX From the Forest – Catskill Trees with Gary Mead – white oak and more. This Week on From the Forest we will be speaking with Gary Mead about white oak trees, their uses, where they grow, as well as what wood products they provide.
Every third Wednesday we have local sawmill owner and wood artist, Gary Mead, to discuss a different Catskill Tree species. Gary is the owner of Fruitful Furnishings Sawmill and Gary Mead Gallery in Margaretville, NY.
Ever hear about a kinetic wood-splitter before? One of our members told me years ago that if he were beginning his "career" again in firewood, he would buy a kinetic wood-splitter over the more well-known hydraulic splitter. More recently I was reading an article about these wood-splitters in "Independent Sawmill & Woodlot Management" magazine and I came across SuperSplitter, Inc. who makes them. After looking into them a little bit, they do seem promising.
Paul McCann is the owner of SuperSplitter, Inc. and holds the patent on the original kinetic wood-splitter since 1978. Paul, his son Connor, and wife Maureen run SuperSplitter, Inc. in West Bridgewater, MA near Boston. We'll ask Paul about his patented design and if it might fit your firewood needs too.
Paul McCann is the Owner and President of SuperSplitter, Inc. From the ground up, the SuperSplit kinetic splitter is made in the USA. And while they have added many employees over the years in order to keep up with demand, they are still a family owned and operated business. For decades they have made the SuperSplit kinetic splitter, and know it inside and out (and, yes, Paul still makes them with his own hands).
Mike is a retired Earth Science teacher and his day-to-day activities are mostly "from the forest" where he draws inspiration and support from, especially during these difficult times. Since the pandemic began and people have been forced to stay at home, Mike has been writing a letter each week to members on how they might learn and enjoy the trees/forest near and around them with their family. In his letters, Mike has made recommendations on what to look for in the woods, such as making collections of plants for the kids, identifying birds, trees, and wildflowers or where to take hike. I know I've learned a lot from Mike and we hope you can too.
Mike is a retired teacher from Margaretville Central School. He taught Earth Science, Environmental Science, Science Research in the High School, Driver Education and several elementary and junior high courses over his 33-year career. In 1988 he was selected as the New York State Conservation Teacher of the Year by the New York State Board of Soil and Water Districts. A life-long resident of Delaware County, Mike is an avid birder and has studied the changes in the avian community over the years.
As a small woodlot landowner, he has learned to manage his property to better enhance wildlife, timber quality and maple syrup production. Mike has been an active volunteer Fireman for nearly 45 years and was an Executive officer for most of that time. He was a member of the Town of Middletown Zoning Board of Appeals and, later, a Planning Board member and Chair. Besides birding, Mike gardens, makes Maple syrup, cuts his own firewood and does woodworking. Currently, he is harvesting trees from his property and preparing his own lumber via a bandsaw mill on the property.
Every third Wednesday we speak with local wood artist Gary Mead. Gary is the owner of Fruitful Furnishings Sawmill and Gary Mead Gallery in Margaretville, NY. This month we will talk about what being in "Nature" means to each of us and how we get out in the woods. For some, the vast wilderness can be the patch of woods behind our homes, for others it means a weekend trip backpacking in 3-5 miles off the road.
The forest and mountains are old friends to local Catskill Mountain Woodsman--Hoppy Quick. Although, during these vulnerable times when many are practicing "social distancing", Hoppy finds the forest a peaceful home to strengthen his spirit and quiet any fears. Hoppy has been on the show numerous times before including topics describing his famous and realistic chainsaw carvings, "defining rural", "stories from the forest", and "Hoppy Goes to NYC." On Wednesday's show we'll ask Hoppy about how he defines "spirit" that's "from the forest."
Hoppy Quick was born & raised in West Shokan, Ulster County. He still resides in the Town of Olive where he continues to carve his famously realistic--and "spirit-animal"--the black bear. Hoppy has recently gained quite a following on his daily Facebook Live Stream where he can be seen fishing near the Ashokan Reservoir, or up some mountain or other engaging people both locally and internationally about his relation to others, the environment and of course his spiritual beliefs.
On this week's show we'll discuss the intersection of streams, floodplains, and forests with Resource Educator--Brent Gotsch--from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program.
Brent Gotsch is a Resource Educator with the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) where he specializes in flood hazard mitigation trainings. He has been a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) since 2012. Most of his programming revolves around helping communities become more resilient to flooding and other natural disasters and to stay in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program. He also helps to organize and implement community programming around stream management and watershed science topics.
In his spare time he enjoys being outdoors, especially on his family’s Christmas Tree farm located in-between the Rondout and Neversink Reservoirs in Sullivan County, NY. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
That's right. Those are maple buckets no longer hanging out on the tree, but stacked and stored for next season, which means this year is already over for many maple producers. On this Wednesday's show, we'll summarize this early maple season: How it began; How it went; & How much we made. We'll also cover some backyard sugaring pitfalls and tips we've learned along the way since 2007.
WIOX From the Forest – Catskill Trees with Gary Mead – Sycamore and More. This Week on From the Forest we will be speaking with Gary Mead about Sycamore trees, their uses, where they grow, as well as what wood products they provide. Gary also wants to touch on Photosynthesis and sycamore syrup and more!
Every third Wednesday we have local sawmill owner and wood artist, Gary Mead, to discuss a different Catskill Tree species. Gary is the owner of Fruitful Furnishings Sawmill and Gary Mead Gallery in Margaretville, NY.
This weeks show we will be talking to Catskill Forest Association’s Board President Mike Porter about Maple Sugaring at the smallest scales: In the Backyard. Mike and John each boil maple sap on the non-commercial scales. We will keep the discussion geared towards the equipment we use, what we look for differently than a commercial operation, when we tap, and much more.
There is a saying that "the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago." I would add that the best time to plant a tree is not only about timing, but matching the "correct" tree to the right site. For instance, my apple trees are doing alright, but heavy clay is a struggle to drain. On this week's show we'll discuss some basics surrounding TREE PLANTING. I just got back from a training at Rutgers University and will share some new information arborists are using in planting trees.
Scientists from Binghamton University, Cardiff University, and New York State Museum have reported the discovery of the floor of the world's oldest forest, right here in the Catskill Mountains of Gilboa, Schoharie County. "It was like discovering the botanical equivalent of dinosaur footprints," said Dr. William Stein, associate professor of biological sciences at Binghamton University. "But the most exciting part was finding out just how many different types of footprints there were. The newly uncovered area was preserved in such a way that we were literally able to walk among the trees, noting what kind they were, where they had stood and how big they had grown." Scientists are now piecing together a view of this ancient site, dating back about 385 million years ago, which could shed new light on the role of modern-day forests and their impact on climate change.
We'll be interviewing Cardiff University's Dr. Chris Berry about his research on this ancient forest in Gilboa. What kind of plants did they find? What was this ancient forest floor like? What do these ancient plants tell us about the climate back then?
Dr. Chris Berry is a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Earth and Ocean Sciences - School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University (1998-present). Dr. Berry was a Research Fellow at the University of Wales, Cardiff University (1996-1998); Royal Society Exchange Fellowship, Liège University (1994-1995); and earned his PhD - Devonian Plant Fossils from Venezuela, Geology Department, Cardiff University (1993) and BA Earth Sciences – Cambridge University (1989).
Dr. Berry specializes in understanding the early radiation of large plants and birth of forest ecosystems in the Devonian Period (380 million years ago).
January through March is the time to prune apple trees. During the same time, we also gather scionwood or cuttings to be used in April/May for grafting onto apple trees. For this week's show, we'll talk about the basic apple tree pruning principles and how you might plan for the upcoming grafting season as well.
Nick Masucci, a former Forest Program Technician of the Catskill Forest Association, is now an officer with the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department. We'll ask Nick about his day-to-day duties up there in New England dealing with both wildlife and people. We also want to know about one particular animal that is legally hunted there in New Hampshire -- moose.
The practice of Logging is how wood is cut and brought out of the woods to meet society's demand for wood products; Yep, I just said "wood" three times. The Krickhahns are one such family that makes this happen. Paul Krickhahn, Jr. & his son Paul A. Krickhahn are full-time Catskill Mountain Loggers. Loggers are more than just cutters, they are what makes forest management possible, since most management relies upon cutting in order to manipulate sunlight and species composition. As one older Forester told me many years ago, "We need them more than they need us." I believe he's still right about that.
The Krickhahns own PGK Logging, Inc. and their home-base is in Roxbury, Delaware County.
This will be our last radio show in 2019; Next Wednesday is Christmas Day & From the Forest will be on holiday. For this year's last show, Catskill Forest Association's President--Mike Porter--Ryan & John will recap or summarize their experiences surrounding the Catskill Mountain's forests. We'll summarize the year seasonally (winter, spring, summer, and fall), from apple tree pruning and grafting to tree and forest health, maple sugaring, wildlife management, trends in forest markets, and more.
Charlie is a Veteran-Arborist serving both Long Island & Sullivan County throughout the last few decades. We'll speak with Charlie about what he's learned about serving both trees and people in the Catskill Mountains, as someone that must balance the needs of trees with the customer's expectations. We'll also cover how to identify a "hazardous tree" as well as what a "healthy" tree might look like.
December 1st marked the unofficial Opening Day to winter across the Catskills & Hudson Valley due to the dumping of 8 to 15 inches of snow. Some of us have been busy plowing out our cars, driveways, and homes while feeding the woodstove to stay warm. But how does wildlife cope with winter's entry and presence for several months?
John and Ryan will discuss how wildlife "survives winter" from fur to seeking shelter in the "subnivean zone" of snow. Not sure what the word "subnivean" means? You'll just have to tune in.
How does wood energy stack up to other energy resources? We'll ask Penn State University's Dan Ciolkosz and Sarah Wurzbacher. Dan will describe the "energy systems" that surround woody biomass, while Sarah will talk more about how trees and forests can be managed for energy from a silvicultural and forestry point of view.
Dan Ciolkosz (Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Penn State University. He is also an Academic Program Coordinator. His areas of expertise include bioenergy, biomass energy systems, thermochemical conversion, energy efficiency, controlled environment agriculture, and solar energy resources evaluation.
Sarah Wurzbacher is an Penn State Extension Silviculturalist in North Central PA with extension experience in forest management relative to wood heat. Her areas of expertise include forest ecology, forest health, structural forest habitat management, bioenergy and bioproducts, and biomass crops.
Gary Mead grew up on a farm in Delaware County. Back then forests were of course around, but not as much as they are today. Most of the farms in Delaware County have been abandoned and reverted back to forests. Some of these farms have been abandoned so long, the trees growing on them are cut for sawlogs where once dairy cows and cauliflower grew. We'll get Gary's perspective on some of these changes, both bad and good.
Every third Wednesday of the month we invite Gary Mead on the show to talk about a tree growing in our Catskill Mountains (or some other forest-related topic). Gary is the local owner of Fruitful Furnishings Sawmill and Gary Mead Gallery in Margaretville, NY.
"Fall means more to Jan Dizard than a return to teaching. For Dizard, the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor in American Culture, autumn also signifies another hunting season. It means weekends spent in the woods of New England and beyond, accompanied by his bird dog, Dee, stalking feathered prey. Jan is an expert on hunting trends and the author of several books and articles about hunting, guns, and attitudes toward nature and the outdoors."
We'll gain Jan's perception on how hunting has changed, how it is perceived today, and whether it should be important to both individuals & conservation going forward.
Jan Dizard is a Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of American Culture at Amherst College. He has taught sociology, American Studies, and, most recently, environmental studies, since joining Amherst faculty in 1969. He was born in Duluth, Minnesota and received his AB from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in sociology in 1962. Jan also received his MA (1964) and PhD (1967) from the University of Chicago in sociology. Before joining the Amherst faculty, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley from 1965 to 1969. He has written several books and book chapters and articles on the modern family, but for the past twenty-five years his writing has focused on conflicting ideas about nature and our relationship to the natural world.
Some hunters go out for deer, and come back with a bear, but few study black bears and how to hunt them deliberately like Catskill Forest Association member--Joel Riotto. In addition to being a true and blue black bear hunter, Joel uses his re-curve bow in New Jersey, the Catskills and beyond to hunt these animals.
Joel Riotto resides in New Jersey and the Catskill Mountains of New York State. He is also an author of many archery and bow-hunting publications such as:
Traditional Bowhunting Magazine
Archery World Magazine
Professional Bowhunting Society Magazine
Bear Hunting Magazine
Joel is also a Senior Member of the Pope & Young Club; Life Member #9 of the Professional Bowhunters Society; Life Member #95 of the NY Bowhunters; Life Member of the NJ Foundation of Sportsman’s Clubs; Founder, past-President, & member of the Traditional Archers of NJ; Past-President of the United Bowhunters of NJ; & Past-President & Life Member of the Bergen Bowmen Archery Club.
This week we'll be talking with Patrick Dolan, CFA's Education Forester, about our lumber resources here in the Catskill Mountains. We'll take a closer look at how a portable sawmill can tap into markets that are typically overlooked by commercial sawmill operations.
You might be aware of the destruction that this little emerald green insect is reeking across the northeast on ash trees recently, especially in the southern Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley. Currently, the only treatment available are chemicals to treat individual ash trees with sentimental importance in the yard-scape. But, what about possibly treating entire stands or forests of ash trees?
The USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working on releasing some BIOCONTROLS to subdue the devastating ash impacts on a forest-wide basis. Sawyer Gardiner of the USDA APHIS will discuss how they are going about finding sites to release parasitoids of emerald ash borer in the Catskill Mountains. Hopefully, this is good news for ash going forward.
Tonight's show we will discuss APPLE TREES & APPLES. The apple tree is one of our most significant agricultural legacies. The apple is good for both humans & wildlife, has beautiful wood, and is a pretty tree to boot. We'll discuss everything from its growing site, to cultivation and care, to wood aspects, and of course the fruit.
Every third Wednesday of the month we invite Gary Mead on the show to talk about a tree growing in our Catskill Mountains. Gary is the local owner of Fruitful Furnishings Sawmill and Gary Mead Gallery in Margaretville, NY.
Hunting participation is apparently half of what it was 50 years ago; Only 5% of Americans actually hunt presently. Even worse is that the "Age-Wall" of 65 is quickly approaching for the hunting demographic; 65 is apparently the "magic age" where most quit going afield.
Paradoxically, most Americans remain favorable towards the activity despite taking a sidelines position. The reasons for and against hunting are many & can be controversial. Still, hunting plays an important role in the forest setting. We'll discuss our reasons from two, relatively young guys who still engage in this activity.
On tonight's show, we'll discuss an overview of the American black bear, covering the historical range of this bear in North America, its decline and resurgence, biology, management, and some anecdotal stories to boot.
The black bear is a highly adaptable creature; It can be found in the boreal forest near Slide Mountain (highest peak of the Catskills) or down in the city of Kingston and everywhere in between. The black bear is certainly leaving its mark, whether on a tree, in a cornfield, as a foot-print in some remote swamp, or on your BBQ grill.
Lots of reports going around of caterpillars popping up. We'll discuss how to decipher some of the commonly found caterpillars found in the Catskills. We'll also talk about some caterpillar look-alikes and potential treatments if too much damage should occur.
On tonight's "From The Forest", we'll be discussing Bark Peeling and Leather Tanning in the Catskills. Spring through August historically marked the season for one of the Catskill Mountain's most famous industries: bark peeling.
Bark from the hemlock tree was peeled for making liquor in tanning leather. This week we're joined by Gary Mead, and we'll get Gary's take on this famous industry that paved the way for future industries and the forest we see today.
Every third Wednesday of the month we invite Gary Mead on the show to talk about a particular tree growing in our Catskill Mountains or some other forest-related topic. Gary is the local owner of Fruitful Furnishings Sawmill & Gary Mead Gallery in Margaretville, NY.
So, what is the "State of the Forest" in the Catskill Mountains? That's kind of a difficult question, but we'll give it our best shot. We'll mostly cover the major drivers or influences upon today's forests. We'll also cover some forest history, trends in forest ownership, present management and concerns, and things you can do to make improvements. Obviously, our "Forestry in the 21st Century" will be focused upon these Catskill Mountains.
On tonight's show, John MacNaught will be speaking to Michael DiBenedetto, retired teacher, Hunter Education volunteer instructor, and volunteer of the Golden Eagle Project, about the potential effects of lead ammunition and the argument to switch to alternatives - like copper - for hunting.
On this week's show, we'll discuss the black-listed Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Norway maple was once planted abundantly as a replacement for dying elm trees in urban areas. Now, it has made the NYS DEC's list of plants that are "Regulated" and must be labeled at any nursery with a tag description of "invasive" and "harmful" to the environment.
What happened? How did this tree fall from grace? Is there place left for Norway maple? We'll consider the pros & cons of this tree, what it means to be "invasive", and more.
On this week's show we'll discuss the fisher; a large, carnivorous, forest-dwelling weasel that prefers to go it alone, but has made quite a comeback in these Catskill Mountains and New York State overall.
Fishers are sometimes misleadingly referred to as fisher cats. This may stem from the name "fisher" being closely related to the word "fitch", meaning a European Polecat (Mustela putorius) but... it's more likely the close visual resemblance and comparable size to a domestic cat. They are sexually dimorphic, meaning the male is much larger than the female.
Despite the name "fisher", the animal is not known to eat fish. Their primary prey is snowshoe hares and porcupines, but supplement their diet with berries, mushrooms, nuts, and insects, and are not averse to eating carrion.
On this week's show, we'll speak with Mike Zagata about some of the aspects regarding NYS's history with forest management that have gone poorly as well as improving the present and future under NYS's new initiative--the "Young Forest Initiative."
Mike Zagata, PhD served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ruffed Grouse Society. Before joining the Ruffed Grouse Society, Mr. Zagata served as the Commissioner (Chief Executive Officer) of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation where he oversaw 4,000 employees and an operating budget in excess of $300 million.
He was inducted into the Offshore Energy Industry’s Hall of Fame for pioneering the Wetland Mitigation Banking and Rigs to Reefs programs, and was also recently inducted into the New York State Outdoorsman’s Hall of Fame. Mr. Zagata has also served as Field Director for The Wildlife Society, Director of Federal Relations for the National Audubon Society and Program Development Officer for the National Research Council’s Committee on Agriculture. In addition, he was Director of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) for Tenneco and Vice-President of EH&S for Transco Energy, and in these capacities was awarded the National Wildlife Federation’s Whooping Crane award and the Conservation Fund’s Alexander Calder award.
He serves as Director of Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Inc. He has taught and conducted research on the impact of forest harvesting on wildlife while in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine, Orono. Born and raised in upstate New York, Mr. Zagata earned a doctorate in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University.
Heather Leach is the Spotted Lanternfly Associate with Penn State Extension responsible for developing a comprehensive understanding of spotted lanternfly priorities from every perspective and disseminating new information on biology, behavior, and effective management techniques.
Spotted lanternfly (SLF) was first discovered in Berks County in 2014. It has spread to 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. It poses a significant threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, most notably the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries, which collectively are worth nearly $18 billion to the state's economy. The insect also can cause damage to high-value ornamentals in home landscapes and can affect the quality of life for residents. Since NYS and the Catskill Mountains share a border with PA, SLF should be on our radar.
Heather Leach has a Bachelor's degree in fisheries & wildlife & Master's degree in entomology from Michigan State University. As a graduate student, she focused on developing chemical, cultural and biological tools to suppress damage from spotted wing drosophila, a fly that can cause damage to many fruit crops. Heather served as a research technician for Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station, Michigan State University Extension. Currently, she is named Spotted Lanternfly Extension Associate with Penn State.
On tonight's "From The Forest" we'll be discussing Tree Bark & Bark Peeling with Gary Mead. Tree bark can provide more than just being the outer covering of a tree - we can tan leather, build furniture, and even side houses with it. Gary will share his unique experiences with peeling and working with tree bark.
Every third Wednesday of the month we invite Gary Mead on the show to talk about a tree growing in our Catskill MOuntains. Gary is the local owner of Fruitful Furnishings Sawmill & Gary Mead Gallery in Margaretville, NY.