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Forest walk to speak for trees


Popular scavenger hunt moves ecosystem program



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Joe Kowalski, right, is seen on tour joined by Gov. Deval Patrick recently. Kowalski will speak to guests about trees and nature in winter during an upcoming Walk in the Woods. (click for larger version)
December 12, 2010
STURBRIDGE — Do you know your beech from your poplar with only bare winter branches as a guide? Are you unfamiliar with how trees coexist with other forest plants?

Residents will have an opportunity to channel their inner Henry David Thoreau on Saturday Dec. 18, as the Sturbridge Conservation Commission will host a two-hour Winter Forest Walk and Talk event.

The walk will occur on the Heins Farm Conservation Land off Leadmine Road, with guests asked to meet at the kiosk in the parking area shortly before 10 a.m.

"We changed the area for this event due to the positive response we had for the Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt," said Leslie Wong, the Open Space Assistant for the Conservation Commission. "There is more parking on the Heins Farm Conservation Area, and we will be able to have more visitors for our walk."

Families with children of all ages are encouraged to attend this free event, which will be highlighted by a presentation from Joe Kowalski, a certified arborist and owner of Sturbridge's Ganesh Tree and Plant Health Care based at 235 Walker Road. Kowalski, who is also an Associate Member of the Conservation Commission, will discuss forested landscape in winter and the land management work that has taken place on the Leadmine Mountain Conservation Area and Heins Farm Conservation Area. Kowalski is certified with the Massachusetts Arborists Association and the International Society of Arboriculture. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in forest ecology, he served the state and federal governments as a tree biologist. Currently, he provides complete diagnostic health assessments and healthcare prescriptions that allow landscape trees and plants to reach their full potential. He has participated in nature walks presented by the Conservation Commission for three years, and he is looking forward to leading another group this year.

"The main goal of the walks is to go in the direction that the audience wants to go," Kowalski said. "We'll take a look at certain types of fungi and plants that are very active during the winter, and we'll also analyze the relationships between different trees and plants."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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