Chapman Mountain

Spring Visit to Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve; Fierce Competition in the Forest Canopy

April 3, 2021 I revisited Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve, just east of Huntsville, Alabama. See my November 28, 2019 Great Blue Heron Blog Post for previous reflections: From the Land Trust of North Alabama website: Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve is a 472 acre property located just to the east of Huntsville on HWY 72. […]

Fighting for Light and Life in the Forest Canopy: Parsing Reality from Fantasy

March 20, 2021, I once again explored the hardwood bottomland forests on the eastern end of the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Huntsville, Alabama. I focused my attention on the overstory, learning more about the fierce competition among trees for sunlight. I have found little in the scientific literature to refute or support my observations. […]

Oak Mountain

Oak Mountain State Park April Tree Form Curiosities

Tree Form Oddities and Curiosities Marker Trees? My February, 2021 Post addressed the fact and folklore of the so-termed Indian marker trees I encountered during a January 2021 hike in the bottomland hardwood forests on the eastern end of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge: My conclusion in that Post was that most of northern Alabama’s […]

My First Visit to Green Mountain Nature Preserve

Pleasant and Well-Managed Trails April 11, 2021, along with my two Alabama grandsons, I visited Green Mountain Nature Preserve for the first time. The Land Trust of North Alabama owns and manages this 922-acre preserve south of Huntsville in Madison County. The three of us hiked four miles, exploring features of interest that I share […]

Oak Mountain

Late March 2021 Tornado Damage at Oak Mountain State Park

My March 23, 2021 Great Blue Heron Blog Post reflected on natural disasters: Here’s a brief excerpt: From the perspective of managers and recreationists at Joe Wheeler State Park (Rogersville, AL), the December 2019 tornado that destroyed the campground amounted to a natural disaster. Nature “handles” such disasters in stride. In fact, such storms […]

Oak Mountain

Oak Mountain State Park April Wildflowers

I enjoyed three half-day hikes at Oak Mountain State Park April 14-16, 2021. This is the third Post from those hiking excursions. The other two are: Fifty Shades of Green — Important State Park System Announcement — This Post catalogs the variety of spring ephemerals and woody plants in flower that I encountered […]

Horse Barn

Early Spring in West-Central Pennsylvania

March 27, 2021 we visited our son and his family in Butler County, Pennsylvania. While there we traveled with them to a lovely rolling hills horse farm and stables where our two granddaughters help care for and ride two horses. I could not resist wandering across the property, exploring early spring pastures and woodlots, and […]

Oak Mountain

Governor Kay Ivey’s Exciting April 2021 State Park System Announcement at Oak Mountain State Park

I retired full time to Madison, AL January 2018, following 12 years (1973-1985) practicing forestry with a Fortune 500 paper and allied forest products manufacturing company and 33 years serving nine universities. I recall saying during the heart of my career that I just could not imagine ever retiring. I admit to some serious adjustment […]

Oak Mountain

Fifty Shades of April Green at Oak Mountain State Park

Nature’s Beauty, Magic, Wonder, and Awe are Regionally Relative Only reluctantly did I decide to include this open source autumn-glory image of a sugar maple forest along an unidentified New England lake. Hesitant because its unmatched beauty argues somewhat against the entire premise of my Post — that here in north Alabama, our spring forests’  […]

Monte Sano

Tall Trees in Monte Sano State Park’s Cathedral Forest

Thirty-Four-inch Yellow Poplar I’m continuing to explore our north Alabama forests and their sylvan residents from the ground up with my newly acquired instruments for measuring tree heights. March 12, 2021, I led Jerry Weisenfeld, Alabama State Parks Advertising and Marketing Manager, along the Arthur Wells Memorial and Sinks Trails at Monte Sano State Park […]

A Different Perspective on the Early March Forests at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

March 7, 2021, I once again visited the bottomland forests on the eastern end of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve begun to focus my attention during my wanderings more and more on the forest canopy, the photosynthesis engines of our incredible terrestrial ecosystems. I’ve discovered that my iPhone’s “selfie function” serves a purpose far more […]

HGH Road

A New (for me) Tree Growth Phenomenon

I’ll begin this Post with the teaser photograph immediately below, offering it without explanatory text, which you’ll see after the A First Time Encounter heading.   A forester, I’ve long found fascination in tree form… whether the veneer-quality cherrybark oak below left, or the distorted, burly Bigfoot oak below right. I’ve included these photos in […]