Sept. 11, 2023
Last week was my second to last week at Starker Forests. Monday was off for Labor Day, but we got right back into the swing of things Tuesday.
Again, we were surveying streams in the “Mid N Norton Hill” unit in the Norton Hill Tree Farm outside of Eddyville. This is the same unit we had been working last week and the stream system is not completely finished. It was another day of battling slick rock formations and going up steep slopes, but it was fun!
That day I was working with Sabrina again and while we were conducting our survey, a medium sized slug managed to get on the hood of her jacket and got slug slime all over it and her hair. I thought it was funny, however, Sabrina thought it was pretty gross. We still have no idea how it got there.
For the rest of the week, I was paired with Joseph working on timber cruising, stream buffers, and basal area reduction. Reece taught us about stream buffering and basal area reduction. The units we visited were to be harvested this year, so the “old PFA (Private Forests Accord) rules” still apply.
Learning about the basal area reduction was very interesting. This is the process of selecting trees in the buffer to be cut, even though the tree is within the buffer boundary. This is done by measuring the diameter of every tree in the boundary and once a minimum basal area is achieved, then any tree that is not contributing to the minimum basal area can be cut.
There are other restrictions as well depending on the stream size. Joseph, Reece and I measured trees with our “D-tape” and marked trees to be cut with bright orange spray paint. The timber cruising was also for the units that we buffered, which was cool to do multiple steps for the same unit.
This was “pre-harvest” cruising so the trees were much larger and the brush was more dense than a recently thinned stand. I was glad to get more timber cruising practice in and I feel more confident.
Thursday afternoon and Friday, was a battle against poison oak. It was all over the ground and up in the trees. It would take a miracle for all of us interns to make it through without getting poison oak rashes. It is still too soon to tell, but I am holding out hope.
As this is my last week at Starker, I need to say that I have learned lots and had many positive experiences working for Starker Forests. Even the fires, poison oak, and the rain gave a glimpse as to a day in the life as a full time Starker Forester and I thought it was awesome.
Everyone looks out for one another, and it seems to me that everyone is a part of a large family. Thank you to all the amazing people at Starker who taught me new skills and looked out for me, you make Starker a great place to work. I hope this is not the end of my story at Starker Forests, I still have two days and I intend to make the most of my time!
- – Anthony Cafferata