A visit to the Baudette School Forest

October 10, 2008 at 1:08 pm 2 comments

Minnesota has well over 100 School Forests.  These sites are used as outdoor classrooms where students can learn, hands on, about how forests grow and how sustainable forest management works.

In late September, I accompanied School Forest program manager Amy Kay Kerber on a visit to the Baudette-Lake of the Woods School Forest.  We visited the site with school staff, teachers, and DNR foresters.

To view the photos, either scroll down or view full-screen in slideshow format.

You can click on any photo, then click “all sizes” to see a larger version.

This sign greeted us as we entered the school forest

This sign greeted us as we entered the school forest

A wooded trail through the school forest

A wooded trail through the school forest

This mixed stand of birch, aspen, white, red and jack pine, and balsam fir is typical of the site.

This mixed stand of birch, aspen, white, red and jack pine, and balsam fir is typical of the site.

An outdoor classroom developed as a 1997 Eagle Scout project

Between the four benches in the foreground and the others near the table, this outdoor classroom site can accommodate a large group of students.

Amy Kay Kerber discussing teaching opportunities with DNR and school staff.

School Forest program manager Amy Kay Kerber of the Minnesota DNR discusses outdoor teaching opportunities with DNR and school staff

The photo doesnt really do justice to this site.  This is an unmanaged pocket of balsam fir near the outdoor classroom site.  DNR forester John Lavasseur often takes groups out to this site to learn about forest growth and change.

The photo doesn't really do justice to this site. This is an unmanaged pocket of balsam fir near the outdoor classroom site. DNR forester Steve Lavasseur often takes groups out to this site to learn about forest growth and change.

Although not as glorious as the fall foliage on some sites, the yellows and greens made a beautiful backdrop to our tour.

Although not as glorious as the fall foliage on some sites, the yellows and greens made a beautiful backdrop to our tour.

Jack pine bark.  Although a jack pine budworm outbreak has killed thousands of jack pines across northwest Minnesota, many remain healthy and vigorous in the school forest.

Jack pine bark. Although a jack pine budworm outbreak has killed thousands of jack pines across northwest Minnesota, many remain healthy and vigorous in the school forest.

Another picture of the typical mix of birch, pine, and balsam fir in the school forest.

Another picture of the typical mix of birch, pine, and balsam fir in the school forest.

Yellowing needles on jack pine

Yellowing needles on jack pine. It's not just hardwoods that drop their foliage! Conifers do too, with different species holding them for different time periods. Jack pine typically holds its needles for 2-4 years.

Most hardwood species reproduce via stump sprouts in addition to seed.  This paper birch clearly originated by stump sprouting after the parent tree died.  Some landowners choose to select the biggest and best sprouts from trees like this and remove others to reduce competition.

Most hardwood species reproduce via stump sprouts in addition to seed. This paper birch clearly originated by stump sprouting after the parent tree died. Some landowners choose to select the biggest and best sprouts from trees like this and remove others to reduce competition. (Read more about this technique in this month's research report, at http://tinyurl.com/5xa5sl)

This clearcut, next to a mature jack pine stand, gives students an opportunity to learn about forest management.  Jack pine is a fast-growing, short-lived species.  This stand was nearing the end of its natural lifespan when the jack pine budworm outbreak made it the right time to harvest.

This clearcut, next to a mature jack pine stand, gives students an opportunity to learn about forest management. Jack pine is a fast-growing, short-lived species. This stand was nearing the end of its natural lifespan when the jack pine budworm outbreak made it the right time to harvest. The stand was replanted by students in the spring following the harvest.

This jack pine seedling regenerated naturally from seed fall.  Jack pine has serotinous cones, which typically remain tightly closed until a combination of fire and/or dry heat causes them to open.

This jack pine seedling regenerated naturally from seed fall. Jack pine has serotinous cones, which typically remain tightly closed until a combination of fire and/or dry heat causes them to open.

This healthy, vigorous white pine seedling was planted by a student during a visit to the school forest.

This healthy, vigorous white pine seedling was planted by a student during a visit to the school forest.

This site, which was planted back to jack and white pine, includes a large amount of hazel, juneberry, and other woody brush.  Unless controlled, the brush will outcompete and kill the planted conifer seedlings.

This site, which was planted back to jack and white pine, includes a large amount of hazel, juneberry, and other woody brush. Unless controlled, the brush will outcompete and kill the planted conifer seedlings.

Note:  We’re thinking of making virtual tours like this a regular feature. Interested? Let us know by clicking “Leave a reply” below.  Even better, take pictures of interesting features on your own property, or your favorite place in the woods, and we’ll feature them here.  Email your photos to potyondy[at]umn[dot]edu. Thanks!
-ed.

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Entry filed under: woods stories. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Poem of the month: Learning the Trees “Life’s Priorities:” A visit with Stan Maleska

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Claire Sagor  |  October 15, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Please make the virtual tours a regular feature. The photos in this first one were excellent and informative. Though I am a nurse by day, I love the chance for a little forest education!

    Reply
  • 2. Brett J. Short  |  November 19, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Nice work! listen to you on KAXE. would like to contribute. feel free to contact me.
    Thanks; the more time we spend outside is less time inside.~When will “they” get it???

    Reply

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News and information of interest to Minnesota woodland owners. Sister site to MyMinnesotaWoods.org.

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