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Page 1: May 2024 Friends of the Forest Newsletter. Upper left corner shows the logo, a poplar leaf and the words “Berea College Forestry Outreach Center”. Below reads “at the Pinnacles: Homelands of the Shawnee and Cherokee Peoples. Tuesday-Saturday 10a.m.-4p.m., Sunday 12p.m.-4p.m. Trails open dawn to dusk daily. 2047 Big Hill Rd. Berea, KY 40403. 859-756-3315. May Events. All events at the FOC/Pinnacles unless otherwise noted. Free and open to all. Outdoor activities weather-dependent. Nature Hikes at the Pinnacles: Saturdays at 10:00 am, meet at FOC Plant Adopt & Swap May 15th, 5:30-7:00 pm. SummerFest 2024 May 18th, 10:00am-4:00pm. Nature R&R May 8th 5:30-7:30pm at Anglin Falls. May 16th 5:30-7:30pm at the Pinnacles, lower forest May 22nd 5:30-7:30pm at Brushy Fork, meet at bridge RSVP on Eventbrite, info on p. 2. Family Activities Bug Safari: 5th, 2:00pm. Paint a Pot & Wildflower Seed Planting: 12th, 2:00pm. Rainbow Scavenger Hunt: May 26th, 2:00pm. FOC at Berea Kids Eat Kickoff @ Glades Garden: May 28th 11am-2pm. Field Recording w/ Madison County Public Library, May 30th 8:30. Below this is a list of social media logos including Facebook, “Instagram @bereacollegefoc, iNaturalist Citizen Science Project: Biodiversity of the Berea College Forest, Seek: App by iNaturalist, great I.D. tool for kids and families.  The upper right corner has an overlook image from the Pinnacles. Below is the main article. Celebrating and caring for the Earth. Earth Day 2024 brought a campus celebration of this planet we all share and call home. A huge thank you to all of the folks involved in the co-planning and implementation, including the Office of Sustainability, Non-traditional Student Program/Ecovillage, Facilities Management, and student organizations. We’re already looking forward to next year! Images in a grid show students making clay pots, enjoying the tabling event, a draft horse in harness, and a group of people next to a tree sapling. A vine graphic separates this from the next text. The horse program team and the draft horses showed off their farming skillset at the annual Spring Plow Day at the non-profit Homeplace on Green River, KY — a celebration of the growing season, crafts, and music. Ours was one of six equine teams that helped to plow the fields for the season. They will be planted and used for education, conservation and agrotourism that helps sustain the culture of rural America. To the right there is an image of a student on a horse-drawn plow driving a team of draft horses.

Page 2. In a yellow blob shape surrounded by green vines, there is text. Nature R&R. Nature Relaxation and Restoration is a 2 hour, slow-paced, restorative forest experience. Please bring a portable chair or something to sit on, dress for the weather and wear walking shoes. We hope you’ll join us! *weather dependent, RSVP for updates*. May 8th, 5:30-7:30 pm at Anglin Falls. May 16th, 5:30-7:30 pm at the Pinnacles, lower forest. May 22nd, 5:30-7:30 pm Brushy Fork, meet at bridge. Please RSVP for a FREE spot and find directions on Eventbrite! To the right, a green blob has an illustration of flowers and text. Plant Adopt & Swap. May 15th 5:30-7:30pm. Are you looking to diversify your summer flower beds or have way too many starts and cuttings? Bring in your excess or unwanted houseplants or outdoor plants and trade them with others. Or, come to find and adopt a new plant to take home with you. Please bring only native or non-invasive plants. If you are unsure about if your plant is suitable to swap or give away, please call us at 859-756-3315 or email an image to Below is a pink paint swipe with text. Planting a White Oak Orchard. In April, the Berea College Forestry Department planted a white oak seed orchard using seedlings from the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF). The orchard is a part of a white oak tree improvement program led by the University of Kentucky, which contributes to efforts to promote white oak sustainability through growing high-quality white oak seedlings. The seedlings planted in the new seed orchard are the top 1% in quality currently being grown in the KDF nursery. When they mature and cross-pollinate, their acorns can be used to grow more high-quality white oak seedlings. To the left is an image of two men carrying white oak tree saplings. Below is a dark green box across the page with text. Family Activities. Free and open to all *** outdoor activities are weather-dependent, RSVP on Facebook to follow any updates. Bug Safari. May 5th, leave at 2:00pm. Let’s take a walk in the lower forest and find as many insect species as we can! Paint a Pot and Wildflower Seed Planting. May 12th, 2:00-3:00pm. Celebrate Wildflower Week by decorating a pot and planting seeds to take home with you! Rainbow Scavenger Hunt. May 26th, 2:00-3:00pm. Try and find something in the forest that represents each color of the rainbow. We’ll add them together to make a big piece of rainbow art for others to enjoy. Field Recording with the Madison County Public Library. May 30th, 8:30pm. Take a walk at dusk and record what sounds you hear. Learn about crepuscular and nocturnal wildlife! The bottom image is of the hills surrounding Owsley Fork Reservoir.

Page 3. From the Forest: Highway 21 Timber Harvest. By Clint Patterson, Berea College Forester. Folks driving through Narrow Gap on Highway 21 may have noticed some timber harvest activity that has been occurring the south side of the highway just east the Forestry Outreach Center. The harvest and is being conducted by our horse program team. The harvest has a rather rough look about it since most of the trees are being cut in this approximately eight-acre area. Additionally, some clearing of trees and invasive brush is also being done nearby. So, I’d like to explain the rationale for this harvest as well as inform the public of what our plans are for here.

I was inspecting this area last year and admiring the success of our oak regeneration efforts in here from previous thinning harvest, when I discovered that many of the mature white oak trees were dying. Nearly all the white oaks…which were the best trees I purposely left ten years ago to grow; and were very healthy then…were now infested with some type of fungus. The base of most of the trees exhibited dark “weeps”, small holes, and white fungal rhizomes at various stages of development. Some of the trees were already dead. The infections looked like Armillaria root rot…a common, but usually not alarming disease for healthy white oak trees. Normally, white oak is good at compartmentalizing these infestations and surviving. Here, the infestations appeared to be much more aggressive and lethal than I had observed before.

I contacted the University of Kentucky Forestry Department and urged their forest health experts to come down to look. Their team has since come twice to collect samples of the fungus from infected trees. They are currently performing lab analysis to try to determine what is going on. Meanwhile, I have located another site, just a half mile away, which shows the same symptoms. My theory is that the three years of record rainfall Kentucky experienced several years ago…resulting in long term saturation of the soil on these lower toe-slopes…is a major contributing factor to the aggressiveness of this fungus. But, we won’t know if that is the case until more study is done.

Meanwhile, we’re harvesting all of the infected trees so we can hopefully stop the spread of the fungus; while also salvaging the trees while they still have some value and are safe to cut down. The understory oak saplings…which appear to be unaffected by the fungus…will grow up to replace them. The site will look messy for a while, but it should recover nicely over time.

So, what else is going on here? There is also a newly cleared path through the woods at the entrance to the gravel road that leads to the Berea Municipal Utilities water plant. This is going to be the entrance to a new parking lot which will be put in to provide access to a new forest management interpretive trail which will extend all the way through the Berea College Forest to Burnt Ridge Road. Within a year, we hope to open up this new trail system to hikers. The trail will provide an opportunity for visitors to see many examples of forest management as well as our American Chestnut Mother Orchard. Stay tuned for more on this later. Invasive species around the parking lot area, along the highway, will be cleared and native grasses and forbs planted to replace them. The area will look messy for a while like the harvest area, but I think the public will be very happy with where this is going and what’s coming.

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