It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time when young foresters, aided by friends, significant others, and curious onlookers, caravan north to Yale-Myers Forest to harvest trees, spruce boughs, mountain laurel, and winterberry. Every year, in early December, we take a break from the final weeks of classes to harvest Christmas trees and wreath-making materials at Yale-Myers and return to Yale with trucks overflowing with holiday cheer.
This year, we harvested the trees during the day on a Friday and gathered at Yale Farm that night to eat pizza, drink hot cider, and assemble wreathes by a roaring fire. For the past two weekends, we sold trees and wreathes to fellow students, faculty, and members of the New Haven community, raising funds for the Yale student chapter…
From late September to early November, my classmates and I have spent some of nearly every weekend in the forests of northeast Connecticut. We are learning by doing – writing management plans for community members who own land around the Yale-Myers Forest.
All students begin their time at F&ES learning to measure trees at Yale-Myers Forest. This fall, 14 of my classmates and I have seen this come full circle. My team of three identified and measured over 1,500 trees on the 120-acre property we were assigned. We also practiced interpreting the landscape by “reading” the soils, rocks, plants and hydrology. This forms the baseline for the recommendations we will make.
The clients we work with have a strong connection to their land. Some have lived there for…
This post was written by Nick Olson, a second-year student in the Master of Forestry program at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
“I have read many definitions of what is a conservationist, and written not a few myself, but I suspect that the best one
is written not with a pen, but with an axe. It is a matter of what a man thinks about while chopping, or while deciding what to chop. A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke he is writing his signature on the face of his land.”
—Aldo Leopold A Sand County Almanac
A favorite among woodsmen, Aldo Leopold’s adage still strikes a chord today. The sentiment guides many of us to the woods and not…
The other weekend, when snow still covered the ground at Yale-Myers Forest, nine students were trained in the art of chainsaw safety and tree felling. Otherwise known as the “Game of Logging,” this daylong Level One workshop began with an introduction to the chainsaw, its mechanics and functions, and ended with each student donning PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and cutting down a tree.
There is a tremendous amount of thought and calculation behind tree felling. Expert loggers navigate in seconds what we novices walked through in minutes. The Game of Logging philosophy celebrates proper chainsaw technique, safety, and skill as a way to achieve higher productivity and efficiency.
At Yale-Myers Forest a few weeks ago, fourth-generation forester and wildlife researcher Sue Morse poked her hiking pole at the yellow stained snow. Bringing the tip of the pole to her mouth, she breathed out to activate the scent molecules. Morse sniffed and said, “If the urine smells like a skunk, it’s a fox.” A fox it was. There, in the snow were delicate nail lines of the print to prove it. As the group huddled to examine the track, she gave us another clue. She drew an “x” between the foot and the toe pads to distinguish this canine track from the “m” shape of a feline.
Despite bitter cold, nine F&ES students joined Morse, of the Vermont-based organization Keeping Track, for a half-day wildlife tracking workshop in…