Missisisippi Valley Field Naturualists
September 21, 2002
Written by: Cliff Bennett
Speaker Helps Field Naturalists Rediscover Trees
There are probably many ways of looking at a forest, but surely the most manageable method is to focus on a single tree. This was the message delivered by one of Canada’s noted lichenologists Rob Lee, at the first autumn meeting of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, held recently at the United Church in Almonte.
Rob Lee, an award winning member of the Ottawa Field Naturalists and leader of the Macoun Field Naturalists Club for junior members, told the audience of MVFN members and guests of a ten year project to identify and study individual trees in an NCC forest in West Ottawa.
Entitled “Hooked on Trees”, each Macoun member adopted their own tree ten years ago, sketched and photographed and studied all the field marks, the tree’s attributes and its interaction with the rest of the forest. In subsequent years, the members returned to the forest, found their personal tree and updated their information on it.
Using a series of excellent colour slides, Lee illustrated, for example, a hickory tree adopted by a Macoun member, who listed its age, timing of leaves in spring and fall patterns, how and when it produced nuts and other special features of the tree. By the time the child is ten years older, he will have learned not only the biology of this one tree but, by comparing notes from others, will become very knowledgeable about the entire life of the forest.
MVFN host for the evening Roberta Clarke introduced and thanked Mr. Lee and presented him with a token of appreciation. During the question period, it became evident that Rob kindled much enthusiasm and heightened awareness of trees and forests, something non-naturalist people seem to take for granted.
The next indoor meeting of MVFN is Thursday, Oct. 17 and the guest presenter is noted birding expert Tony Beck. Meanwhile, check out programme details and other nature matters on the MVFN website, mvfn.ca.