Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mira Lloyd Dock Marker

The Historical Marker Database is a favorite I like to follow. Today the marker for Mira Lloyd Dock in Harrisburg was entered. Dock (1853-1945) was a conservation pioneer for her work in parks around Harrisburg, conservation education, and with the Pennsylvania Forestry Commission. Her marker could have been just as easily placed in Mont Alto. She was a frequent lecturer at the Forest Academy. She also mentored many of the students in the first classes, inviting them to Sunday teas at her home in Caledonia.

She also gave many talks on forestry and conservation at Mont Alto and around Pennsylvania. Take a look at some of the slides in her glass lantern shows at the Penn State Library.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New York City Parks

This past weekend I visited New York City and had the chance to visit several of the parks including Central Park. This Google map shows some of the areas I visited. An urban park is a very challenging environment for trees, shrubs, and turf. They can be easily loved to death from people and pets. Fencing helps keep people in the right places and protects areas that need to be protected so that they can regenerate.

View Larger Map

Ax Men on the History Channel

A new documentary series, Ax Men, on the History Channel premiered this past Sunday. The show follows the work of four different logging companies in Oregon. Each of the companies works on very steep terrain using cable logging to get the wood off the incredible slopes. The action photography is awesome. The show highlights the extreme dangers that the loggers face every day. Using first-person narration and very well done animation the show brings us into the lives and struggles of the loggers.

The four companies use similar techniques but they are very different. One is a large operation with new equipment. The owner, who lost one arm in an accident, is always experimenting with new techniques to increase production, such as using a helicopter to initially set a cable. Another company works with a small crew using a converted WWII tank as a yarder. When one worker goes home with a bad back everyone has to shift jobs and production plummets for the day.

The show concentrates on the drama of the loggers and their work. Watching it as a forester I think of the bigger picture of the forest situation in Oregon with the restrictions on harvesting and the controversies on the best way to manage the forests. The previews hint that in future episodes the decline in logging, the closure of mills, and the difficulties in the forest economy will be highlighted. Watching this show I can understand the slightly bemused attitude I have always noticed in loggers when I have been on logging tours. They know that all the silvicultural theories rely on their actions.

The loggers work under tremendous pressure. In addition to the dangers they have to maintain production to get paid. Their contracts have hard deadlines that they have to meet. It's a hard way to make a living.

This is a series well worth watching.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Henry Sipes Memorial Tree

During a surveying exercise this morning I came across a memorial black walnut tree for F. Henry Sipe (PSFS 25). Sipe became a forester and surveyor in West Virginia. He wrote a book Compass Land Surveying, of which I have the final 1979 edition. It was a detailed handbook for doing forest property surveys. It's definitely a classic! It's great to have these historical reminders around the Mont Alto campus.