Tree Identification walk


Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 1:00pm to Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 12:45pm




Finger Lakes Trail, Danby


Anna Stalter and Tom Kozlowski


From Solidago 12:4, by Nancy Richards

Thank you to Tom Koslowski and Anna Stalter for the delightful, informative tree walk Sunday afternoon, October 30, 2011. About a dozen enthusiastic folks gathered near the Finger Lakes Trail by Comfort Road, Danby for the start of the walk. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining and the leaves made colorful carpets on the path.

Both Anna and Tom know trees very well (whereas I need to painstakingly look up the features to identify what I'm looking at).Anna talked about and showed some reference tree books before the walk and then left the books in the car during the walk because she had a pretty good idea of what we were about to see. They dedicated their time to more than just the duration of the walk that day, because they had scouted out the location during the prior weekend. Tom passed out a handout on buds and leaf scars, features so important for winter identification, and also showed a sample of various twigs.

The walk was publicized as focusing on bud and bark characteristics but we learned so much more. They pointed out features such as the shapes and heights of different trees and shrubs, the color and texture of bark, and the important characteristics for twig identification. Tom cut open a particular twig which had "chambered" pith. We looked at leaves and their color, shape, texture, feel, and even their smell. Both the fallen leaves and a few leaves still hanging on the branches helped to identify the types of tree (e.g. various maples, oaks, and magnolia) along the path. Tom read a passage from A Natural History of Trees by Donald Peattie to illustrate how important trees are and how great the Sycamores once were. Having a 10x hand lens along was helpful. Looking at enlarged details opens a whole new miniature world, which is hidden until you see the fascinating details. Everyone on the walk seemed engrossed in looking for characteristics of the different species. It was a pleasure to be part of such a dedicated knowledgeable group, all of whom were interested in the trees and shared information.