Our Study-Tree Woods is only 10 acres in extent, yet after 25 years of choosing trees, new Macoun members can still find ash trees and ironwoods that no one else has ever studied before. We spent the morning hours touring all those that current members are following (and picking new ones). One very large White Ash had split wide open and fallen in big pieces. Niccolo took it as his own and counted the exposed annual rings: the tree appeared to have been 70 years old. Ana was entranced by a Christmas Fern, bright green amid all the brown of the late autumn forest. No other member has ever chosen a fern for study before.
After lunch, we took a newly (and unofficially) developed trail north past “the waterfall” – now dry – but more often walked parallel to it. Rob was watching the crevices in the limestone escarpment for the Study Area’s only Walking Ferns, without success.
We came out on the Trans-Canada Trail that forms our northwestern boundary, and – it’s never been done before – then explored beyond it all the way to Robertson Road. Right away we found a massive Sugar Maple bigger than any we have seen before. Past that were blocky rock outcrops with gastropod fossils that are absent from our Study Area. And then alvar-like terrain overgrown by Jack Pines planted in the sixties.
We finished up by examining the ruins of a long-abandoned farmhouse and outbuildings (also outside our Study Area proper), including a spring-house (root cellar), barn, and silo.