for a walk in the woods!
Eric Nelson lead the way as he pointed out the many different species of trees, rocks, ferns. The group used its senses of sight, smell, and touch when learning how to tell the different between local trees such as the Sweet Birch (Black Birch) when crushed has the aroma of wintergreen, Witch-hazel and its use as an astringent, Sassafras with its sweet root beer aroma just to name a few. The list could go on and on. Kathan Woods has a good range of different species for plants/trees to explore.
We also were fortunate to see animal scat that is believed to be from a red fox that was seen at the trail head that morning as well as smelling its wonderful musky, almost skunk like scent along the way before heading up to the Bluff Head. Eric described how the red fox uses its scat as well as its scent as a way of conveying its status and marking its territory. He also had the group tune in their hearing to the many different bird calls we heard through out the day.
Thank you to Eric and let’s not forget Barney and the historical tid-bits he provided of the Kathan Woods property for making the 24th Annual Hike one that I am sure will be remembered by all as a time of being in good company, making new friends, and enjoying a day in the woods with the added benefit of learning something new along the way!
Eric Nelson is a naturalist from Cheshire who holds many programs on rocks, trees, plants, etc. He his workshops are featured through at the Cheshire Historical Society.