Saturday, September 7, 2019

New Film: Eastern White Pine- The Tree Rooted in American History

Four hundred years ago, the first English colonies were established in what would be known as New England, and Virginia. What prompted this to occur? The answer may not be quite what you've always thought. Here are some more questions to contemplate...

  • Why did the King send people three thousand miles from home to settle on this continent? Did things go according to his plan? 
  • What role did the eastern white pine tree (Pinus strobus) play in the venture?

Eastern White Pines

  • What is Riga fir?
  • Why are some New England village commons triangular?
  • What were the "King's Pines" about?

  • What did one of the first colonial flags look like?
  • What led to the American Revolution?
  • What was the "Long Island Express"?
  • What is the tallest living thing in the northeast?
  • How does walking in a white pine forest personally benefit you?

These questions and more will be answered in our new documentary film, "Eastern White Pine - The Tree Rooted in American History". More than two years in the making, it uses archival images, new footage, and aerial views to tell the 4-century story of the eastern white pine's significant contribution to America's founding and history. The white pine's importance to wildlife and people is related by famed bear biologist Lynn Rogers of Minnesota, Trinity College neuroscientist Susan Masino, and nationally known old-growth forest expert Bob Leverett.

The film is currently being scheduled for local screenings in central/southern New England, and will be published later for all to see on our New England Forests Youtube channel. A short trailer can be seen now on the channel (click here), or in the player window below (may not be available in email feeds).

We hope to see you at one of the local screenings!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

New Film: The Ecology of Coevolved Species

Have you ever thought about why nuthatches search a tree's trunk for insects, but seldom search its branches, while chickadees forage in the branches but rarely on the trunk?

At least two species of woodpecker eat ants, but flickers hunt for them on the ground, whereas pileated woodpeckers hunt for them on tree trunks; why?

Northern flicker hunting for ants
Pileated woodpecker hunting for ants

Why are many owl species nocturnal, while hawks are diurnal?

A nocturnal Barred owl
A diurnal Redtail hawk

Why are there ephemeral spring wildflowers, followed by a replacement crop of different summer ones?

Spring Beauty wildflower
Blue Cohosh
Why was the American chestnut ravaged by the chestnut blight?

What makes our forests and other natural environments resilient in times of environmental change?

Maybe you've seen lichen-covered tree trunks and wondered whether those lichens are harming the tree.

Lichen-covered Red Oak

How does competition among species affect their ecological roles?

You'll find answers to questions like these, and more, in a new film titled "The Ecology of Coevolved Species", featuring professor emeritus (Antioch New England) Tom Wessels. Tom is a master of terrestrial ecology, with a well-honed skill for passing his knowledge on to others.

Ecologist Tom Wessels

In this film, Tom explains the ecological principles that help us understand some of the interactions among animal and plant species, what "natural currency" governs those interactions, and some implications of our tinkering with natural environments. After some introductory explanation of the topic, Tom takes us into the forest to see a number of species that have evolved together, thus shaping each other's ecological role.

If you've watched our 3-part "Reading the Forested Landscape" series, or read Tom's book of the same title, you know how skillful Tom is at interpreting what we see in central New England's forests. This film will expand your understanding of how the natural world operates. You won't be disappointed.

The film (and others) can be viewed on our New England Forests Youtube channel, or in the player window below (window may not be available in email feeds). As always, we welcome comments, posted either here or on the channel.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Upcoming Screenings of "Lost Forests of New England"

The Lost Forests of New England film continues to attract audiences who are eager to learn about the remnant old growth forests of central New England.

It was screened on January 23 at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst, MA, to a full house, with scores of people on a waiting list or turned away at the door. A Hitchcock spokesperson said it was one of the best attended programs they've had since they opened the center! We'll be scheduling a second showing there later this year.

In the meantime, we have several more showings on the slate.

First, the film will be shown at the Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Center in Easthampton, MA, at 7pm on March 22, 2019. Registration is required.

On March 28, 2019, the film's Connecticut premiere will be in the beautiful Cinestudio theater on the campus of Trinity College, Hartford CT, at 7:30pm. You won't want to miss this!

Cinestudio theater

In connection with Earth Day, we will present the film on Sunday, April 21, at the Gateway City Arts center in Holyoke, MA, at 3pm.

Following each screening, there will be a panel of several experts who will conduct a question & answer session. Check each venue's website for specific details.

At each presentation, a limited number of a special, valuable gift will be given away as well. Hopefully you'll be one of the lucky recipients!