Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

September 21, 2011


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Bob Dewing, Jerry Uhrig


Deer exclosures -

Jerry started the meeting with an overview of the recent storm damage done to the Deer Exclosure at the High School site.  A large tree broke off at about 20 feet from the ground and fell across the entire exclosure.  Some of the fencing is down but considering the size of the tree, it seems minimal. The biggest problem is that the tree must be carefully removed from the exclosure without doing too much damage to the seedlings planted there. Chainsaws will be needed.


A more detailed status of each exclosure is as follows:


  • Exclosure #1 (off Crestview in Wilcox Park) Needs some minor repairs, nothing serious.
  • Exclosure #2 (next to soccer fields on the lower side of the entry road) Took a major hit when a large oak fell into it. This will take some planning and some effort.
  • Exclosure #3 (next to soccer fields on the upper side of the entry road) Minor repairs
  • Exclosure #4 (above Exclosure #3) staked out with markers but not erected yet.  Markers basically OK. Need to finish this one. Looks easier than removing the large oak from #2.

American Chestnuts


We expect to receive about ten American chestnut seeds in October from the American Chestnut Cooperators’ Foundation. It is best to have the sites for each seed prepared before the seeds arrive so that they can be planted immediately. Each seed will need a hole at least 2 ft deep and 2 ft wide filled with a mix of half soil and half peat moss. We discussed where to plant the seeds. Some constraints are that each seed must be at least 10 ft from any other seed, and they should all be within 200 ft for efficient pollination. Each tree produces both male and female flowers but they do not self-pollinate. From ten seeds we might expect to get one or two blight-resistant trees. So it might require several years’ planting to produce two healthy specimens that can begin to support a colony. Since the deer exclosures are 100 ft in diameter, we could plant the chestnuts within an exclosure. But since each seed will still require additional individual protection, we can also plant them outside the exclosures in an area that might have better morning sun and drainage. Jerry will explore the alternatives. We also need to collect ten half-gallon milk containers to make the initial protective exclosures for the seeds. Later, we will use fencing as the seedlings grow taller.






The DEP produced two important educational tools on the subject o black bears this year. A 60-minute documentary film, “Living with Black Bears,” is intended for a general audience. It includes a 15-minute segment intended specifically for New Jersey. The film is a comprehensive and up-to-date view of black bears and the means by which the state manages the bear population.


A companion to this film is an expanded classroom version, “Understanding Black Bears.” This is an interactive classroom curriculum covering 11 topics with 29 separate classroom activities. It will be distributed free to interested school systems and teachers.


These are tools which the Woodlands Management Committee plans to encourage the use of. One obvious approach would be to sponsor a public viewing of the documentary. But recent experience has been that public information meetings on this topic are not well enough attended. We discussed alternative ways to share this information with the public. One might be yet another public information meeting. But there are other alternatives worth considering, such as making a copy of the film available at the library or finding ways of making the film available on line through a medium like YouTube. We haven’t decided on what approach to take yet.


For the expanded classroom version, “Understanding Black Bears,” we need to be sure that the schools realize the material is available free. Finding a place for it in the curriculum might be another matter.


Eagle Scout project


Harrison Charwat did an excellent job of researching, planning, managing and executing his woodland restoration project. Extensive amounts of invasive vegetation were removed, and a good mix of native stock was planted to replace the invasives. After having the summer to settle in and begin growing, nearly all the new seedlings are doing well. A couple of them may not make it but it’s worth waiting until spring before giving up on them entirely.


Another part of Harrison’s project, requested by his Boy Scout supervisor, involved identifying and labeling some specimen trees. The labels look very good and should help those who want to gain further appreciation of our native woodlands. Incidentally, Bob Dewing mentioned that there is apparently a cell phone “app” available to assist in tree identification. We have not tracked it down yet.




We had a planning and review meeting on August 17 with Frank DeMarco, the manager of the UBNJ bowhunt this year. The meeting was attended by Frank, Barry Lewis, Phil Notestine, and Jerry Uhrig. We reviewed the rules and procedures and the hunter qualification tests. This year there are eleven bowhunters who qualified, three monitors, and the manager, Frank. We plan to have the annual pizza gathering sometime in late October/early November. The pizza gatherings were started by Phil Notestine a few years ago. They turn out to be an excellent way to build rapport and get acquainted since many of the bowhunters are not from this area.




The beaver activity at Birchwood does not seem to have progressed any further this summer. At this point we do not know if the beavers are active further back into the Tourne or not. We do know, however, that the original dam at the boundary between Mountain Lakes parkland and the Tourne County Park has been abandoned. This would mean that this dam could be removed and the lower area drained. Care must be taken to assure that invasive vegetation does not move into the drained area. This will be a major rehabilitation project which we would want to undertake in consultation with the County Park naturalist. In the meantime, we need to investigate the upper area to determine if the beavers may have abandoned the Tourne entirely. A simple test is to remove a part of the dam and see if it is repaired overnight. If we do find that the beavers are still there, we have a promise from a state biologist that a trapper will come in December to remove them. We have had such promises before with no success. But maybe this time will be different if we do need them.