NYFA Bark Workshop A Success

On Saturday October 26, Michael Wojtech, author of Bark, a field guide to trees of the Northeast, presented a workshop to help participants identify native trees in Eastern New York based on bark types.  Michael started out with an indoor class on the characteristics and ecology of bark and, using photos, tested us on how we thought bark on young trees would look on older trees.  By knowing the different types of bark – blocky, ropy, vertical strips, smooth, etc. – it was easier to guess how these bark types change over time.  After our classroom lesson, we were excited to get outdoors and walk the trails of the Albany Pine Bush to see the different types in nature.  We spent over an hour looking at oaks, pines, birches, cherries, maples and others and learning the techniques of bark identification to figure out closely related species like cottonwood, aspen and grey birch.  A great time was had by all and we look forward to trying out our new skills with other trees of the area.

We assembled outside the Pine Bush Discovery Center before heading off to the yellow trail.

We assembled outside the Pine Bush Discovery Center on a chilly day before heading off to the yellow trail.

Michael showed us how some bark types, like black cherry, form scales that peel off easily.

Michael showed us how some bark types, like black cherry, form scales that peel off easily.

A cut stump illustrates where the wood transitions to the bark.

A cut stump illustrates how the wood transitions to the bark.

Often, the bark on the lower part of the tree is quite different than the bark higher in the tree.

Often, the bark on the lower part of the tree is quite different than the bark higher in the tree.

A real treat! The bark of a young American chestnut, smooth with small white lenticels.

A real treat! The bark of a young American chestnut, smooth with small white lenticels.

Unfortunately it was not longed for this world as it has already been attacked by the chestnut blight.

Unfortunately it was not longed for this world as it has already been attacked by the chestnut blight.

Amazingly it had produced some fruit that we found along the trail.

Amazingly it had produced some fruit that we found along the trail.

For more information about Michael’s bark book and workshops you can visit his website http://www.knowyourtrees.com. We thank him for a very interesting and informative workshop. – Steve Young

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