Memories of Trees

Wow, we sure have had a busy start to our Spring! Katie and Clare’s schedules have been packed. Lately we’ve been reflecting on this Spring’s programs and community events, and we’d love to share with you about our tree identification workshop.

On a chilly Sunday afternoon in early March, a group of tree-lovers gathered in the Homestead Barn at ThorpeWood to begin our tree identification workshop! The workshop started with hot chocolate, cookies, and a few introductions. The intrepid explorers then took to the woods in the name of gaining tree knowledge. Our tree experts, Zach Carnegie from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Dakota Durcho from the Forestry Service, focused on identifying trees based on their bark rather than their leaves; folks often call this “winter tree identification.”

Event participants study the bark of a black birch tree, which smells of wintergreen when injured!
“Do these ridges intersect every 12 inches?”

They brought along some handy guides (Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast) and guided participants through the identification process, sharing extra tidbits about trees from their wealth of knowledge along the way. (Did you know that when you slice into the bark of a black birch tree, it smells like wintergreen?) After going through a few examples, Dakota and Zach released the workshop participants to work through some identifications on their own. Much conferring around field guides and pointing commenced. Afterward the whole group had a chance to ask questions and get the right answers. When everyone was chock full with new woodland knowledge, and also a bit too cold for comfort, Zach announced, “how does another cup of hot chocolate sound?” He received a resounding “yay!” and the group headed back to the barn to chat, have a warm drink, and say goodbye.

All in all, we had a wonderful time, despite the cold and snow flurries. One participant commented, “What fun to go traipsing around in the woods looking at trees!” We at ThorpeWood have to say that we agree.