"Education Tent" Speaker Line-Up at the Catskill Forest Festival

The Fifth Annual Catskill Forest Festival, hosted by The Catskill Forest Association

On Saturday, July 26th you can find out all about our forest.  Who has not thought about what is going on in the forest around us?  Could we be taking the forest for granted?  Get more connected with the forested landscape as well as have fun.  There will be a logging competition (lots of noise) professionals as well as non-professionals will be competing on a variety of skills, including who can saw with precision and who can calculate exactly where a tree will fall.  

There will be lots of vendors, from hand-crafted furniture, wooden boats, arts and crafts that are made from forest materials to wood and pellet stoves and furnaces and maple syrup.  Educational 20 minute presentations will be offered by experts on subjects such as:  Bringing back the American Chestnut tree, New York forests – are they an endangered species?, Forestry for Wildlife, the Catskills Golden Eagle Project and Woody Biomass opportunities for heating our communities.

Food, drink, music, games and horse rides will be plentiful.  It’s free and fun!  10am to 4pm at the Margaretville, NY pavilion behind the Freshtown Supermarket.

"Education Tent" Speakers

Forest Festival, July 26, 2014

11:15 - Allen Nichols - Bringing Back the Mighty Giant- The American Chestnut

Allen Nichols is the Vice President of the New York Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF). The TACF’s mission is “to restore the American chestnut to its historic range.” American chestnut was at one time, one of the most popular trees in the eastern forest. It was popular for its "fruit" and its wood.  The American Chestnut blossoms late, thus it never succumbs to late frosts. So, it is a more reliable producer of mast than other tree species. However, chestnut was mostly eliminated in the 20th century due to Chestnut Blight brought over from Asia. Allen will be at the Forest Festival to tell us about the bioengineered, blight- resistant trees that will soon be available for planting.  

12:00 - Jerry Michael- "New York Forests- An Endangered Species?"  

Jerry is a Master Forest Owner volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension, a Board member of the New York Forest Owners Association, and Chair of NYFOA’s “Restore NY Woodlands” committee.”  He will speak about how the Catskill forests regenerate. He will cover historical human impacts and the current problem with white-tailed deer consuming desirable tree species.  He will suggest corrective remedies for woodlands dominated by species unpalatable to deer---beech, striped maple, and hay scented fern. Jerry will also talk about forest harvest practices, stressing the benefits of working with professional foresters who can guide woodland owners to make wise economic decisions.

12:45 - John MacNaught and Ryan Trapani-  "Forestry for Wildlife"

The Forestry for Wildlife program was created by the Catskill Forest Association to provide wildlife habitat while also enhancing the health of the forest through creating a fruitful and thriving overstory and understory on members' property. CFA staff Ryan Trapani and John MacNaught will discuss this program and why it is necessary to implement. They will speak about what a healthy understory should consist of and why it is important to overwhelm the deer browse to truly succeed in providing food, water, and cover for a variety of birds, small mammals, and large herbivores.  

1:30 - Peg DiBenedetto - "The Catskills Golden Eagle Project"

Various projects to study Eastern Golden Eagles are underway by volunteers of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society in collaboration with West Virginia University researchers to learn the natural history of the species. Thought to be a separate race from the Western Golden Eagle, the study is aimed to gather information on the range, habits and genetics of the Eastern race. 

DEC, New York State Ornithological Association and the Audubon Society are all actively participating in this study.  Peg DiBenedetto is the local coordinator for winter-feeding stations and is also involved in the late winter live trapping, examination, data collection, and tagging and subsequent release of the Golden Eagles.  Data from their movements is gathered via cell phone transmitters as the Eagles move through areas with cell service. 

2:15  - Jim Waters - Woody Biomass as Fuel

Use of woody biomass (wood chips, pellets or firewood) to heat homes is an alternative to fossil fuels.  Woody biomass is derived from low-grade timber that, when harvested, improves the quality of the forest.  It makes economic sense to "work" our forests if we have a good market for low-grade trees.  With farm abandonment, forest cover is increasing in NYS.  Learn about the benefits such as reduced fuel bills, reduced environmental risks, direct savings to building owners and more local jobs that could come to a community that encourages installation of woody biomass heating systems.  Jim Waters, Executive Director of Catskill Forest Association will make the presentation.

3:00 - Jerry Michael - "New York Forests- An Endangered Species?"  (See above)