HELP SAVE AN OLD GROWTH HABITAT
BE A PART OF SAVING AN OLD GROWTH HABITAT
YOU CAN BE A PART OF HELPING AN ENTIRE ECOSYSTEM
A MESSAGE FROM OUR CONSERVATION DIRECTOR MATT PERRY
When a 7 1/2 acre parcel of land, located on the far western border of Spring Farm CARES' Nature Sanctuary unexpectedly came up for a county tax sale, we knew that we had to try and rescue it. After all this wasn't just any piece of land, this was a rare gem, an intact and unspoiled forest community that could greatly augment the natural diversity of our Nature Sanctuary and further our goal of preserving and protecting our wildlife friends.
And so with the eager loggers nipping at their heels, our Spring Farm CARES Directors attended the Oneida County land auction and with the blessings of Mother Earth, they successfully out-bid the foes of the forest. So now instead of meeting the chain-saws of destruction, the land and all the wild creatures that live on it were to come under our protection.
As a student of the forest, I know only too well what a rare thing an unexploited forest is and what a crucial haven for wildlife and plants such a pristine place can provide. Unlike any of the surrounding woodlands for miles around, which have been fragmented by development, scared by mechanized logging, or otherwise plagued by non-native invasive species, this woodland parcel has miraculously been spared those fates and stands today like a monument to the primeval forests of the past - back before Europeans settled this land and the trees ruled supreme.
These wooded acres are largely comprised of majestic mature trees. Most of the species are typical of an eastern upland forest. Sugar Maple, American Beech, and Canadian Hemlock are the most prevalent trees. American Basswood, Black Cherry, White Ash, Yellow Birch, and Eastern Hop-hornbeam are also well represented. I was most surprised to discover a stand of very old Big Tooth Aspen flanking a rocky creek on the eastern side of the property, for this tree is quite uncommon in our area.
The sleepy brook that meanders its way through this forest is home to many vulnerable creatures including several varieties of salamander. The most common one found here is called the Red Eft. In its adult stage of life this amphibian has a bright orange body with reddish spots running down its back.
Surrounding the feet of the mossy tree trunks are rafts of native perennials. These woodland wildflowers drift over the land's shaded ridges. Trilliums, Hepatica, Indian Cucumber Root, and American Ginseng are just a few of the wonderful plants that are found here, the latter species being a rarity and a long standing conservation priority for our Nature Sanctuary. Also, many woodland ferns inhabit this rich and fertile terrain including the uncommon Maidenhair Fern, which has delicate leaflets that spiral up from the soil on slender stalks.
The birds that nest in these woods are species that require healthy, mature forest for their habitat; they include the Scarlet Tanager, who feeds and makes its nest among the highest branches of the forest canopy. Though he is seldom seen, the fiery male’s full throated caroling can be heard from the tree tops throughout the breeding season.
Nesting in the cool Hemlock gorge is one of this forest's smallest denizens, the sprightly Winter Wren. This dark brown bundle of energy is in some ways more mouse-like than bird-like. It rarely flies higher than a few feet above the ground and it places its nest snuggly inside the roots of an upturned tree usually within a few feet of a flowing stream. Like the Tanager, the persistent song of the wren is the music of this woodland cathedral; the serenade of spirit that rewards visitors to this most sacred place.
While younger woodlands and logged over forest provide little in the way of housing for wildlife, this mature forest habitat offer homes to scores of animals. Tree cavities dutifully excavated by the large resident Pileated Woodpecker become homes for Owls, Raccoons, Wood Ducks, and scores other woodland creatures.
The sale of this wonderful piece of forest came about quite unexpectedly. And the purchase of it has put a strain on Spring Farm CARES' already stretched to the maximum budget. However, we felt that the expenditure was warranted in order to fulfill our greater mission to protect all creatures - be they domestic or wild. In light of that we ask you, our friends, and all friends of animals great and small, to consider contributing to our forest acquisition fund. We have developed the following sponsorship levels to allow you to visualize what you are contributing to. So please help us to assist the animals of the forest and to preserve and protect their woodland homes. I thank you in advance for helping us to place this precious natural jewel in the protected setting of our beautiful Nature Sanctuary where it will remain an honored place and a safe haven for so many living creatures.
BE A GUARDIAN OF THE FOREST
You can be a guardian of the forest by supporting at the following levels: (or you can donate any amount you want and designate it towards the old growth forest project)
FERN GUARDIAN: $150
DEER GUARDIAN: $250
OLD GROWTH TREE GUARDIAN: $500
GUARDIAN ANGEL OF THE FOREST: $1,000
To donate at any of these levels, please send a check to Spring Farm CARES, 3364 State Rt. 12, Clinton, NY 13323. Include the level of sponsorship and notation that it is for the Guardian of the Forest. Or, you can phone our office to put it on your credit card, at (315) 737-9339, Mon. - Fri. 9AM-4PM. Or, go to our donations page and in the COMMENTS section, please include the level of sponsorship and that it is for the Guardian of the Forest Project.
Thank you for being a part of preserving this incredible habitat and jewel of nature.