Read more about what’s happening at the School Forests, our programs, and what our post-graduate fellows are up to in the recent School Forests Newsletter.
Management of the Forests
Joseph Orefice (M.F. ‘09, Ph.D. ‘15 UNH), Director of Forest & Agricultural Operations
The Yale Forests continue to provide experiential learning opportunities for the Yale community while serving as a foundation for field-based research. The Yale Forests comprise 10,888 acres of woods, wetlands, and natural ecosystems in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Extension is a core value of the Yale Forests and is achieved by engaging forest landowners in conservation through our Quiet Corner Initiative. In addition to supporting current students and faculty, the School Forests provide post graduate fellowships for recent graduates to gain valuable professional experience. The School Forests’ lands and infrastructure support cutting edge research in ecology and other environmental disciplines with investigators from across Yale and beyond. The summer Forest Apprentice Program as well as the Ingalls Field Ecology program for undergraduates are keystone programs for the school forest and have grown larger and more robust over the past few years. We continue to offer complementary educational experiences for students. For example, Joseph Orefice (MF ’09, PhD ’15 UNH), Director of Forest & Agricultural Operations, took advantage of beautiful spring weather and led a few students on a prescribed burn (see picture below, courtesy of F&ES Blog) for oak-hickory regeneration at Yale-Myers over spring break.
Research at the Yale School Forests
Laura Green (M.F. ‘18), Naturalist Program Fellow & Research Manager - Yale School Forests
As actively managed forests with a long history of research, the Yale Forests are a dynamic and compelling site for researchers across Yale and beyond. This year saw the beginning of five new projects at the Forests, and the publication of ten papers resulting from past or ongoing work. The Forests also continued to support student researchers. The Kolhberg-Donohoe Fellowship, which supports students conducting research at the School Forests, was awarded to five undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in 2019 for projects on topics ranging from wood frog growth rates to invasive species and soil nutrients. For students earlier on in their research career, the Ingalls Field Ecology Program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to get hands-on experience conducting field research. In 2019, the program welcomed six students who spent the summer at Yale-Myers Forest. Working alongside faculty and graduate student researchers, interns learned field skills and collected important ecological data for ongoing research projects. This year, efforts were focused on a new permanent forest census plot where students measured and mapped over 8,000 woody stems.
Yale Forests and The Quiet Corner
Rosa Goldman (M.F. ‘19), Quiet Corner Initiative Manager
The Quiet Corner Initiative had another full year of programming and workshops. Many of our regular events returned with great success, such as Harvest Festival in the fall and our Summer Seminar and Film Series. We also continued the Climate Change Series that began in spring of 2019, aiming to bring the latest in climate science and policy from New Haven to the Quiet Corner. This year, we put on both a Town Hall event with former DEEP Commissioner Dr. Robert Klee (Ph.D. ’05, J.D. ’04, M.E.M. ’99) and a climate-informed forest management field day with Dr. Mark Ashton. QCI also collaborated with the Forest Stewards Guild in October to host a Women’s Chainsaw Safety Training at Yale-Myers, led by Amanda Mahaffey (M.F. ‘04) and tish carr. Women from surrounding towns came together for a day of learning how to safely operate and maintain their chainsaws, and also had an evening discussion on the challenges of being women in forestry-related fields. And as always, we enjoyed linking F&ES students with Quiet Corner landowners for real-world projects. Students in Management Plans for Protected Areas prepared plans for seven landowners across nearly 400 acres this past year, bringing our total number of management plans to 50 (covering almost 4,300 acres) since beginning the Woodland Partnership in 2011!
Jacob Holzberg-Pill (M.F. ‘10) points out animal scat while leadinga Wildlife Tracking Workshop at Yale-Myers in February 2020. (Photo courtesy of Rosa Goldman.)