Happy International Forest Day! One of my favorite days…
I had a site visit today- yeah on a Saturday, but that was okay since it was forest day. I was walking along with the landowners and their dog enjoying the warmer Michigan weather looking at trees, enjoying the diversity and some wildlife that was there, A hawk and some chickadees. They had some beautiful diversity on their 40 acres of property. It ranged from mature scotch pine, mature white pine to some younger oaks and white pine. They even had some baby spruce trees and balsams! Not to mention some oddly placed blue spruce and cedar trees. I enjoy walking properties with landowners because it reminds me that there are people out there who still value the forest purely for the forest. These landowners wanted my advice on how to just be good stewards to their property. They weren’t just looking to make a bang for their buck on harvesting it (which is a good thing; harvesting) but they really just wanted to know what they had out there and how to best manage it to keep it thriving for years and years. They wanted to know about all the possible diseases to keep their eyes out for based on what they had and wanted to know what exactly they had out there. They did not claim to be “know it alls” and that they knew what they had. It was more of a walk through teaching experience. It was a nice humble site visit.
So as we were walking…to my surprise I nearly started running! My eyes widen and I started going off the trail towards what appeared to be a hemlock…IT WAS!!!! Now, I get excited when I see certain trees but even more to my surprise the landowners were right behind me just as excited and not even knowing why they were to be excited! I told them they have HEMLOCKS! I started freaking out and she started freaking out pointing out the little adorable pine cones. She was a sucker for pine cones, and I was able to find a fallen cone for her. Now its normal for me to leave a site with samples of different things and a pocket full of acorns or other things but to have some one with me collecting neat things was mind blowing! As we continued on I mentioned to them that it was International Forest day and we should probably hug some trees. Now usually when I mention to a landowner about hugging trees I get a chuckle, but not today. Today the landowners and I hugged trees together. The gentleman said he would hug his favorite tree on the property, a large white pine probably 30-35dbh, in which he called “Big Bertha”! So I hugged a white pine near his and he referred to it as Big Bertha’s sister! Today I not only hugged many trees but I got to do it with some other forest lovers and it was amazing.
If you didn’t get the chance to hug a tree on International Forest Day–its okay, there is always tomorrow and the next day and the next.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
― John Muir