Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Miller Stewardship Forest

On Wednesday, May 29th, Franklin County Master Gardeners were treated to a tour of the Miller Stewardship Forest.  The 34 acre property is owned by Larry and Nancy Miller (MG), and has been carefully transformed from an unmanaged old farm woodlot with many invasive species, into a restoration  oak-hickory forest by retired forester and Master Gardener Lionel Lemery.

Guide MG Lionel Lemery

The property includes a three acre pond and a two acre tree plantation, including Chestnut trees as a part of the blight-resistant breeding program to bring back the American Chestnut.

Three Acre Pond
The pond was created by an earthen dam around 1949.  It has a maximum depth of 26 feet and supports good populations of bluegills and some largemouth bass. 

Wildlife Observed
The two-acre plantation was planted in 2008 and 2009 with 23 species of trees and shrubs, in addition to the Chestnuts.  Three bluebird nesting boxes are spaced along the field edge.

Bridge Over a Part of the Pond
There is a one mile walking trail loop through the property that is open to the public for hiking and nature study.  Public hunting and fishing is prohibited.  Please call (717) 263-0083 to make arrangements.

MG's on the Tour

The 120+ year old forest was commercially thinned in 2009, removing 1/3 of the tree growth to allow space for more desirable species.  Dead snags and cavity trees were left to attract woodpeckers and owls to the property.  Both Barred Owls and a Great Horned Owl have been heard living on the property.

Rattlesnake Weed - Hieracium venosum

The Rattlesnake Weed, or Hieracium venosum, gets a dandelion-like yellow flower, on a very tall stem.  Pictures at the links.
MG's on the Trail

More Explanations from Lionel
The Millers are managing their land to sustain forest health and to provide habitat for wildlife and leave a family legacy for their grandchildren.

Stewardship, indeed!

Thanks, Nancy and Lionel - what a great way to earn continuing education credits, while enjoying nature and conservation at its finest.

1 comment:

  1. What a great report with lots of information. For more info on Aldo Leopold, check out the BLOG entry Meditations and Thoughts on Gardening-6.