Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Former caretakers at the 2009 Campfire

Caretakers from 1957-1959 and now.Last Friday, the School of Natural Resources & Environment held its annual Homecoming Weekend festivities around the Baxter V. Dow campfire circle. These festivities have been going on for almost 100 years, although the campfire circle was built several years after the tradition began. As it was Homecoming, the alumni from the class of 1959 were invited to come celebrate with the current student body and faculty members. Two people in particular that came were inimitably tied with the history of Saginaw Forest: the 1957-1959 caretakers.

When they came inside, the long-married couple were pleasantly surprised to see the updates that had been put in during the 50 years since they occupied the cabin. The stairs that a former caretaker installed to access the loft was something that they had wished they had, since the loft was only used as a storage area while they lived here. Similarly, they didn't have a shower, but had to carry in water from the lake and heat it in a metal tub whenever they wanted to bathe (although he had the option to take a shower at the Union building -- before the CCRB was built!).

Furthermore, the small structure attached to the side of the barn is now explained: it was a dog house that he constructed for their beagle puppy. Next spring, I'll try to excavate that area a little bit more than it is currently, although it will likely mean a difficult mowing process in order to do so.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

SNRE Campfire

Learning the history of Saginaw ForestThis year's SNRE Campfire event was a great event, with over 100 students, alumni, faculty, and staff celebrating the history of the school around the campfire circle, sharing stories with friends, competing in events, and learning a little bit about the history of the school and of Saginaw Forest.

Thanks to Brett Levy for his one-man performance throughout the night. Thanks to the staff of the the Dean's Office and the Office of Academic Programs (OAP) for their behind-the-scenes logistics, specifically to Marie, Erin, and Kim. The night was a rather hectic affair, with me organizing (aka corralling via bellowing) the cross-cut sawing competition, Solomon organizing the wader races, and also with me helping out with showing people around the property.

Sitting around the campfire

I learned several things about the logistics of organizing events out here, and want to be able to use those ideas for next year's event.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dogs need to be leashed

In a recent opinion piece submitted to, a user of Stinchfield Woods noted that she had been accosted by several dogs off-leash:
On a recent Saturday, I was hiking alone in the University of Michigan's Stinchfield Woods (in Dexter Township) when I was suddenly accosted and surrounded by four large unleashed dogs. No owners were within my sight or hearing. The dogs encircled me so closely I had to stop walking. It wasn’t until I yelled at them to “go away” that a female voice (still not within my sight) called to them.
All dogs must be on leashesThis has been a problem in Saginaw Forest as well. Regardless of what dog owner-users of Stinchfield Woods, Saginaw Forest, or the Nichols Arboretum might think about what the rules of use in these University of Michigan properties actually are, all dogs must be kept on leashes (ignoring signs doesn't mean they don't exist). If the caretaker or anyone else asks dog-walkers to put their dogs on a leash, then that should be done.

I'm sorry if you feel different about your dog or your abilities to control your dog. However, rules is rules. You would expect guests to follow your rules when they visit your property, please do the same here and at other University of Michigan properties. If you do not like the rules, then you can always choose not to use the facility.

Counter to what some people have said about places where they walk their dogs, Saginaw Forest is a research facility, not some "rural" or "woods" area. Dogs off-leash cannot be guaranteed to not become enmeshed in areas used for research.

No, I don't hate dogs. However, I am in charge of enforcing the rules, and these include the "All dogs must be on leashes" rule. It's not personal. If I see your dog off a leash, you will be told that it must be put on leash and asked to leave. If you don't like to be informed that you are breaking the rules, then don't break the rules. It's that simple. If you choose not to put your dog on a leash after you have been asked to do so, then DPS will be called.

Deliveries complete

Straw bales around the campfire circle
Straw bales surround the campfire circle. Hopefully this will be enough for people to be comfortable.

Pumpkins for carving
Pumpkins got delivered early today. They'll be for the pumpkin carving events under the tent.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Setup and deliveries for the campfire

Trash bins
Trash bins. The bungee cords should help minimize the number of critters that can get to the trash...

Two portajohns get delivered; one with wheelchair accessibility.

Logs for cross-cut sawing
Set up two saws for cross-cut sawing competitions. Perhaps we can have a one-person and a two-person competition...

Mowing the lawn one last time before the campfire celebrations tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cut wood for campfire

Wood cut for annual campfire celebrationsI cut about 1/10 cord of wood from some fallen cedars with the chainsaw. Tomorrow, maybe another 1/10 cord... All for the SNRE campfire on Friday.

(The wood in the wheelbarrow is only one part of the several wheelbarrow-fulls of wood cut.)

Water delivery

Water deliveryman came today with 12 bottles. This will help with the campfire needs this Friday.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New window latch

New window latchThe old latch on the upstairs window was broken, and - due to facing of the frame being missing - there was a difficulty in putting in a new latch. However, putting one on the bottom corner - where the frame and the window were still flush - seems to work adequately enough. I might have to put one on the upper corner as well, though. I'll think about it.

Fuzzy caterpillar

Fuzzy caterpillarIt seems like caterpillars (and spiders, walking sticks, etc) like to climb up screens. Who knows if this one won't be eaten up by spiders like all the others seem to have been.

Changing colors on Third Sister Lake

It's starting! The color-change of autumn. For those people who might come out earlier to the forest for the SNRE campfire Homecoming festivities this Friday might be able to see these colors changing from green to red.

Changing colors on Third Sister Lake

Trapped groundhog

Trapped groundhogOne of the humane traps left out to catch the cats way back in June was still left in the barn. ... And after three months it was finally tripped (or it was actually closed and this guy figured out how to wriggle into a closed trap. Luckily, I was collecting and chopping wood so I was in the barn when this guy started to bang around, alerting me to its presence. When I first entered the barn, I was wearing a t-shirt and sandals, so I took a little time to go get boots, a long-sleeve shirt, and work gloves on (just in case the little bugger wanted to bite me).

I took him out to release him in the woods. His nose was bloodied a bit out of an attempt to chew through the cage, but didn't look much the worse for wear. (Of course, I don't really know what a healthy groundhog looks like up close.) He got quite anxious while I was carrying him outside, although I don't know if that was because it was something familiar or because he was scared at being lifted in a cage during the day (likely some of both, methinks).

It took me a little time to figure out the release mechanism, but once that flap was opened, it only took him to turn around to realize that he was free, and off he went, gallumping through the piles of cut grass, leaves, and groundcover, heading toward one of the groundhog burrows that I knew was nearby.

The humane trap is closed and will remain that way until I need to use it again (i.e., if I see those cats again).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Clearing and mowing lawn

Clearing and mowing lawn
Originally uploaded by umlud

In preparation for the SNRE Campfire (this year on September 25th), I realized that I would have to mow the NW corner of the front lawn of the tall grasses and plants that had been left to grow over the entire spring and summer. After a lot of the dew had evaporated, I mowed this corner to about 5" in height, cleared the cuttings, and then mowed the entire lawn down to about 1.5". Total time: 4 hrs.

Walking through Saginaw Forest

Walking through Saginaw Forest
Originally uploaded by umlud

Prof. Aline Cotel's stream restoration class came out to Saginaw Forest to look at the problems plaguing the stream. Her class will be working out at the forest to measure the timing and impact of flooding flows (and erosion) in the creek. They will also be installing passive monitoring technologies in order to assess a "current condition" as well as continuously assess the impacts of restoration measures.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fixed mower

Last week, I found that the fuel line for the Toro mower was nicked, causing fuel to spill out as I filled the tank. (Damn.) I don't know if it was due to rodents or decay, but yesterday I fixed it by splicing in a section. Mower works fine, and the lawn was mowed in order for the PhD potluck this Saturday evening.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Updating past log entries

I've added a few more log entries from 1986. As it turns out, it's more of the same sort of things that are happening (have happened) here during the same times of the year.

If you have some memories or photos of Saginaw Forest from way back when (especially if you were a former caretaker), then please e-mail me and share some of those memories of days past, and with your permission they can be posted on the blog to be shared with others.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Misty morning

Misty morning
Originally uploaded by umlud
Woke up this morning to a misty sunrise. This is one more reason why I love living out here. As the leaves change more and more (although it is rather early to change this year, isn't it?), the photos of misty mornings will likely become more brilliant.