This week marks the beginning of a new conservation project in the North Woods! Skidmore Facilities, Sustainable Skidmore, the Skidmore Student Conservation Corps, students from an Environmental Sociology class, and this semester’s North Woods Steward are teaming up to build a new boardwalk on the Red Trail right behind the North Woods Apartments.
This is a photo of a boardwalk at Wilton Wildlife, the North Woods Boardwalk will be very similar.
The boardwalk will be 250 feet long and four feet wide, and will replace the old boardwalks that are currently falling apart back there. The new boardwalk will help prevent erosion and damaging trail use, as well as make the trail a safer space to be.
We hope to have it built in by the end of the fall semester. If you have any questions or want to get involved, please email North Woods Steward Eliza Hollister at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is my last post as a North Woods Steward! We have accomplished a lot this summer, from putting up signs and dealing with invasive plant species to making videos, leading tours, and learning about the diversity and unique-ness of the North Woods. I will be sad to leave, but know that I am leaving the woods in Eliza’s capable caring hands, and later in those of new stewards. Yay for evolution, change and progress!
Here are the two videos that I made using footage taken by the past North Woods Stewards, Maranda Duval, Charles Glassberg, Adam Schmelkin, Jennifer Garvin, and Sondra Lipshutz to help people connect with the woods.
I hope that you all get a chance to get out into the North Woods and explore! There really is so much there to know, understand and experience.
Some cool things are happening this week. We finished putting up the Red Trail signs this morning, and are beginning on the Blue. Today we also finished an interactive map called a storymap of the invasive species on Skidmore Campus with the help of Alex Chaucer. It shows the locations of landscaped invasive species on campus. Check it out in the link below!
This week we led a tour for a group of international students who will begin their Skidmore career this fall, as well as a couple pre-college RAs with the Johns Hopkins CTY program. We had a wonderful time!
More exciting news this week, we are beginning to put up the Red Trail signs! They will all be up by the end of next week, so keep an eye out!
3 years after new signs were proposed for the North Woods, they are finally being put up! The new signs indicate the color and direction of the trail, and include our rules (no fires, no biking, and no littering). The new signs also have numbers on the upper right-hand corner that are correlated with specific GPS points. If someone gets lost or hurt in the woods, they can call campus safety and give them an accurate location. Signs that say “Please Leash Your Pet” and “Please Pick Up After Your Pet” will hopefully be up soon!
This past Sunday we attended a plant identification tour at Ndakinna Education Center. Ndakinna means “our land” in Abenaki. If you would like to know more about Ndakinna and their programs, check out their website at http://www.ndakinnacenter.org/, or follow them on Facebook.
We learned about over 100 types of plants! We learned about the medicinal value of Mullein (also known as Lambs Ear), how to distinguish Queen Anne’s Lace from Poison Hemlock, all the edible parts of the milkweed plant and so much more. It was also an enlightening experience. We discussed the way that people relate to plants and the natural world, and how different cultures influence those relationships. There are really so many ways to relate to the world around us.
It seems we are always finding amazing fungi in the North Woods and in the garden these days. Neither of us have much experience in mushroom identification, so please feel free to tell us more if you know about them!
This week we accomplished something pretty exciting!
We finished pulling all the garlic mustard plants we could find. Believe it or not, we have now pulled over 13,000 garlic mustard plants from the North Woods just in the past six weeks!
Last Wednesday was our plant identification tour, which was a lot of fun. It remarkable how much we have learned in our time here and how much we can now give back to other people.
Keep on the lookout for more tours coming up! We will be having a guided meditation tour on Saturday July 13th, and a family friendly woods walk about the North Woods ecosystem on Sunday July 28th. Posters and more information to come.
Today, Harold from facilities joined us to remove some fallen trees from trails in the North Woods. Harold did the chainsawing, while we got to pick up the logs and toss them off the trails. We removed 10 logs, which is wonderful for both the safety of visitors and the health of the trails. Any trails that have been diverted by large or dangerous logs have now been restored!