The natural world around us is changing quickly.
The earliest aerial photos from this county were taken in 1939, and at that point it was very easy to spot individual oaks. In the 1980s most of our woodlands began being invaded by invasive brush, and by the 2000s the unmanaged savannas had a completely closed canopy. These photos don't even begin to show the degradation of the native grasses and wildflowers. What's happening? Widespread introduction of non-native plants into home landscapes that become invasive species, lack of fire in our ecosystems, and a complete absence of grazers as part of our native fauna are some factors that are making our natural areas less healthy.
Gateway Park in 1939, 2008, and 2015. The blue dot is "Burtha," the largest bur oak on site. The red dot is "Nana,"
the largest white oak in the county.
The above photos show the corner of Gateway Park with our favorite oak trees. Most of the oaks present in 1939 (photo on the left) are still standing strong in 2008 (center photo) and 2015 (photo on the right). Look closely at the 2015 photo to see the woodland thinning out again after our volunteers helped clear out the woods. It's still a work in progress but it's getting better!
Wolf Oak Woods in 1939 and today. Watch the woods fill in with brush.
The above photos (1939 photo on the left and current photo on the right) of the Wolf Oak property may look overwhelming, but the good news is that with your help we can make a change for the better! Join a volunteer workday this winter, and hopefully in 10 years we can be showcasing an aerial photo as a success story.
The next workday at the Wolf Oak Woods, 8930 Rt. 120, Woodstock, is January 4, 2017 from 10 am to 1 pm.