Friday, May 31, 2013

Forestry Crew Assists the Golden-Winged Warbler

As part of the Forestry Crew's commitment to the Triad of Warren Wilson College, it participates in service projects with various local agencies. One such project has been with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, working to create habitat for the Golden-Winged Warbler by clearing areas on Little Hump Mountain in the Highlands of Roan. Chris Coxen, the Field Ecologist for the Conservancy, has spotted two males singing in the areas where the Forestry Crew has worked over the previous two years. We are very excited to see our work pay dividends in such a short time period!

                                                                                           Chris Coxen

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jones Mountain Crown Thinning and Log Pulling

 The Forestry Crew carried out a crown thinning in early 2013 in a small pine plantation on Jones Mountain. This thinning was designed to create gaps (shown below) into which dominant white pine trees left in the stand could expand and grow, thereby becoming more valuable timber trees (as well as being larger and more aesthetically pleasing). Crew members cut the trees as part of a chainsaw training earlier in the year, and have been pulling saw logs out of the stand using a tractor and winch system. Once all the saw logs are out, the Horse Crew will help drag the logs to Warren Wilson Road, where Landscaping Crew will help transport them to the mill.

The stand will also serve as an educational tool for silviculture classes, and will be shown as a working model of the effects of a crown thinning.

 Hannah Billian, suited up and ready to cut the last of the trees

The crew chokes a log that is about to be pulled to the edge of the stand

 Crew member Frank prepares to operate the tractor and winch

The logging crew with the tractor and winch

Work Parade 2013: The Last March of the Ents

 Warren Wilson College holds a yearly Work Parade, in which work crews compete for Best Float, Most Sustainable Float, etc., all following a certain theme. This year's theme was Lord of the Rings, and the Forestry Crew re-created the tower of Isengard and the Last March of the Ents (featured in the second book by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers), and crew members dressed as ents and orcs. Forestry Crew won the "Most Middle-Earth-Like Float" award.




Forestry Crew Wins Softball Game!

Forestry Crew won the 16th annual softball game this past weekend, beating the Farm Crew 30-11. Forestry Crew led off batting, scoring one run to Farm's three in the first inning. The next several were close, until Forestry pulled ahead with four runs in the fourth inning, nine in the fifth, and six in the sixth. The Farm attempted a valiant comeback in the bottom of the ninth, scoring 5 runs, but came up short. This makes the winning record between both crews equal at 8 games apiece, but in the Chase/Shawn era, Forestry is ahead 4-2.

 Hannah Billian and Kelsey Myers wait for a turn at bat

Caleb, Dylan, Shawn, and Xenia form clever comebacks to Farm's heckling during the game

Frank Secret takes a practice swing at bat

 The final scoreboard

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Silviculture Fieldtrip Combines Service, History and Old Growth

This Spring's Silviculture Fieldtrip made its annual pilgrimage to The Cradle of Forestry in America and Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, two important landmarks in the history of regional forestry. "The Cradle", is the site of the original Biltmore Forestry School, the first Forestry School in the United States. While at The Cradle, students worked on rehabilitating several interpretive installations, including a demonstration nursery for eastern hardwood species. Students had the opportunity to visit The Forest Festival Trail and learn about the historical collaboration between the logging and railroad industries - a partnership that facilitated the era of industrial logging in the region. The group also pitched in on a trail restoration project along the nearby Davidson River, working with a fisheries biologist from the Nantahala National Forest.
(Alex Boyd, Rhys Brydon-Williams and Frank Secret measure and document a sapling at the hardwood nursery)
After a night camping at Pink Beds, the class drove west for Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, a small section of The Slickrock Wilderness just outside Robbinsville, NC. and one of the most famous old growth stands in the region. At Joyce Kilmer, students had a chance to study and experience old growth structure, function and composition and were treated to perfect timing for spring ephemeral wildflowers.
(Under the big trees at Joyce Kilmer)