September 26, 2020 Trees on the Mac Trail with Dr. Owen Clarkin and Art Goldsmith

I know I am going to jinx things but once again, great weather on Saturday September 26th for a great outing on the old second growth forest in the Macnamara Trail.  The drought of early summer with later rains may have been responsible for some of the flowering plants still being in bloom such as the New England Asters and the White Snakeroot. This was  also a super time for Fall colour viewing according to Dr. Clarkin as the tree colours are peaking early and provided a lovely contrast with others still green.

Attendance on this popular outing was good and the group split into two:  One following Dr. Clarkin to begin and the other, following the modest Arthur Goldsmith (he knows much more than he is willing to say and is a hoot to boot).  The groups swapped leaders at the lime kiln where the Liverwort was showing and each group in turn went to see the Walking Fern and Rock Polypody.  As our time drew to a close, Dr. Clarkin and others headed out of the Trail while Art led four of us to the marsh lookout (What a view!)  The lookout tower is currently misaligned with the boardwalk and accessing it is not recommended at this time.  This is a project the Board is looking at.

Both Art and Dr. Clarkin were extremely knowledgeable and gave the groups a wealth of information about the trees and shrubs and even fungi along the way.  We learned that Balsam Poplar is the northernmost deciduous tree, that the sharp spikes on the Choke Cherry (my childhood favourite forage) differentiate it from Buckthorn, that Red Oak has pointy leaves and that its Sunleaves (the ones at the top of the tree) are more deeply cut to allow light to filter to the lower leaves.  We learned that Ironwood is the hardest wood in Canada, Balsam Fir keeps its leaves attached for six months after the tree dies and that the Emerald Ash Borer have a preference in the variety of Ash tree.  They prefer the Green Ash to the Black Ash and like the White Ash the least.  Many other ID tips and information about trees found on the Mac Trail were discussed and the general feedback is that everyone enjoyed the outing immensely.

Thank you once again Dr. Clarkin and Art.  And thank you Participants.

Please check out the photos that were submitted to see more of our experience on the wonderful trail maintained by your club.  If you are interested in helping with Trail maintenance, please don’t hesitate to let us know.  One of the best ways to help is to use the trail regularly and report any problems to the Trail Coordinators Béatrice and Julian Romeskie.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet McCullough, MFNC Field Trip Coordinator