SULLIVAN — One of fall’s time-honored traditions in Ashland County is the Ashland County Farm Bureau’s fall Farm Tour.
Not only is this a great opportunity for community members to learn more about the farms in our area, but this year the tour will give woodland owners the opportunity to learn more about how to manage their trees effectively.
Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is teaming up with the Ashland County Park District to host a series of Focus on Forestry walks on Oct. 2 as part of the farm tour’s stop at the Hurdle Waterfowl Park in Sullivan.
“Woodland management is more important than most people realize, and healthy trees don’t always grow on their own,” said Katie Eikleberry, fiscal and education specialist with Ashland SWCD. “Vines and weaker trees may need to be eliminated to encourage a strong stand and allow more light to penetrate the canopy.
"That enables a bigger variety of species to thrive in the woods, which then attracts more wildlife. A healthy woodland with strong street and good plant life will also help protect the soil and prevent erosion.”
The farm tour stop at Hurdle Waterfowl Park will feature a variety of educational activities throughout the day, including wagon kids, live animals, food, give-a-ways and more with Ashland County Park District conduction educational hikes throughout the woods.
However, on Oct. 2, Jake Peer from Peer Family Forestry will be conducting talks targeted to woodland owners at 1, 1:30 and 2 p.m.
“Jake will be covering basic forestry for landowners in his hikes, and landowners will really have an opportunity to chat and ask questions while on the hike,” Eikleberry said. “Those participating in Jake’s tours will learn about tree identification, basic health of wooded areas, and the pros and cons of the species that are currently established at Hurdle Waterfowl Park.”
Eikleberry said anyone can attend the Conservation Chat: Focus on Forestry event, but it will be especially interesting to those that enjoy a nice walk in the woods and have an interest in forest health.
“Jake has a lot of experience as a forester, and he really does a great job connecting with the audience and targeting his message to the folks he’s interacting with at the time,” Eikleberry said. “The walks with Jake are definitely going to be a fun learning experience for those who can take advantage of the opportunity.”
The Conservation Chat: Focus on Forestry is part of a series of monthly in-person, hands-on conservation programs offered by Ashland SWCD. September’s Conservation Chat: Don’t Fence Me In will take place on Sept. 29 at Sycamore Valley Farms, and the November event will focus on watershed planning in the Katotawa Creek watershed.
The Ashland County Farm Bureau Farm Tour will take place Oct. 2 and 3 in northern Ashland County with numerous drive-it-yourself stops. Call the Ashland Farm Bureau office at 330-263-7456 for more information.