According to the foundation: “More than a century ago, nearly 4 billion American chestnut trees were growing in the eastern U.S. They were among the largest, tallest, and fastest-growing trees. The wood was rot-resistant, straight-grained, and suitable for furniture, fencing, and building. The nuts fed billions of birds and animals. It was almost a perfect tree, that is, until a blight fungus killed it more than a century ago. The chestnut blight has been called the greatest ecological disaster to strike the world’s forests in all of history.”
The AC Foundation is committed to “restoring the American chestnut tree to our eastern woodlands to benefit our environment, our wildlife, and our society. Unlike other environmental organizations, TACF’s mission is not about preventing environmental loss or preserving what we already have. The concept of our mission is much bolder and more powerful. It’s about restoration of an entire ecosystem and making our world a much better place than we found it.”
The Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees: July 15th, 2018
Trustees of the board of John Burroughs Woodchuck Lodge conducted their annual meeting on July 15th, 2018. All were welcome and we had an audience of members, after which we took a hike up to the new Summer House via The Trout Lily Trail. It was a beautiful day.
A Visit from Germantown NY Artist Collective
Five participants from the Germantown NY Artist Collective,InStar Lodge, visited John Burroughs Woodchuck Lodge, Sunday, as part of their Community Conversations initiative. Focused on the importance of “place”, two groups of participants walked and talked together about “wonderment”, our human reaction to the variety of nature when we attend carefully to the natural world around us.
After the 19th century loads of tanned hides left the docks in Catskill heading down the Hudson River to “The Swamp” in New York City, they took on a whole new life of their own.
Yes, there was life after tanning. Come find out about it from the dynamic and exciting speaker BILL BIRNS, who will be sharing his family’s historically riveting experiences in THE SWAMP of Manhattan.
This free event has been made possible in part through the generosity of The A. Lindsay & Olive B. O’Connor Foundation, The Greene County Council on the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, and The Zadock Pratt Museum.
Bill’s talk is entitled “LOUIS BIRNS & SONS IN THE SWAMP”
WHEN: Thursday August 2, 2018 – 7 to 8 pm
WHERE: Zadock Pratt Museum, 14540 Main St/Rte 23
Prattsville NY 12468.
A new summerhouse has been built for the top of the meadow at Woodchuck Lodge where visitors and board members go to cherish the stunning view across the Catskill Mountains. Members of the board are also looking for a small, portable library to put inside the summer house.
The idea came to board members as we completed the Trout Lily Trail, to extend the trail to the east into the hog lot. We would then lengthen the trail, transition from forest to meadow at the break in the stone wall and utilize more of the property. Now, while capturing that view, visitors can sit, rest and perhaps even read awhile if we are to get our tiny library.
Steve Walker, of Beaverdam Builders, built the summer house. We provided the rough draft of what a turn of the century ‘summerhouse’ looked like. We chose red cedar for durability, round poles and twig lattice for aesthetics, a rustic bench with a simple shed roof, all to blend with the ambiance of Woodchuck Lodge. We were seeking a modest structure to match both the man and, certainly, the budget! “The agreement we struck was if I were to secure the materials, he would build it” says Patti Rudge.
On a tip from RyanTrapani @ Catskill Forest Association, we purchased the cedar from Todd Baldwin in Dutchess County. The hemlock, on the other hand, was harvested locally and milled just down the road in Halcottsville by John Biruk.
With the ground firmed up from spring rains and a high pressure holding, Steve had his crew up in the hog lot in the second week of June and added a bit of magic to Woodchuck Lodge. The summerhouse ‘under the maples’ is waiting to be discovered.
Church of the Robin’s Ha-Ha: John Burroughs’ Natural Religion and Other Poems by Anne Richey
Anne Richey, a docent at Woodchuck Lodge and local teacher has published an homage to the works of John Burroughs in the form of an eclectic collection of poetry and prose: an anthology of notes, quotations, prose, excerpts from an ancient diary and “found poetry”.
March 27th was an auspicious day. Ryan Trapani of the Catskill Forest Association led a team who pruned the old apple trees in the orchard at Woodchuck Lodge. Overhead flew a buzzard with wings like long feathered fingers.
As far as we can gather, the trees have never been pruned, so Woodchuck Lodge will participate in the CFA’s tree pruning program that will take place annually over the course of the next three years at least. All the dead applewood was removed into a pile the size of a small truck. The one tree closest to the road, (pictured immediately below) was in the worst shape and less than half the boughs on its gnarly bark remain.
The resultant pruned tree, looking rather like the house of a fairytale character or mythical creature, is one of our historical natural landmarks. When these trees were planted, there would have been no trees in the area and Burroughs would have enjoyed sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains in south, east and westerly directions. Some apple trees had to be felled because they were in too much of that shade.
Last year’s apples were abundant and board members picked them and used them in pies. In two years, we will consider grafting the trees to cultivate a new apple, but firstly the trees will given some time to stabilize. “Pruning is a shock,” says board member Patti Rudge.
Structural pruning of the trees will increase air circulation and sunlight through the tree, which reduces the chance of insects and diseases. The improved structure will enhance the tree’s ability to create fruit buds, withstand fruit load or wind load and the weight of bears.
Our fearless leader, Bill Birns, President of the Board of Trustees of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge will be interviewed on WIOX Radio on October 23rd at 9am on Mind Your Business, the talk show hosted by Glen Pedersen and Carol O’Beirne. WIOX Radio streams live on your smart phone, tablet or laptop, allowing you to listen to it anywhere. Bill will be talking about Woodchuck Lodge, our upcoming trail-opening event on October 29th and our woodshed.
Woodchuck Lodge needs a new woodshed as the old one is dilapidated. We have a matching grant from the O’Connor Foundation, meaning if we are able to raise $1000, the O’Connor Foundation will match it, giving us $2000 for a new woodshed.
We humbly and gratefully accept donations on this website on our DONATIONS page.
To promote our Wild Saturday events at Woodchuck Lodge John Michelotti of Catskill Fungi and Mairead Mulhern, Environmental Educator at Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul State Parks will be appearing on WIOX Radio on Monday morning May 1st. They will be the second and third guests on “The Economy Of” with J.N. Urbanski. The show is broadcast for an hour from 9am to 10am on Monday, but to hear only our Woodchuck Lodge guests, tune in at about 9.20am.