The Amherst Garden Club’s May Meeting

May 6

How to Interpret a Forest’s History

Presented by Tom Wessels

Ecologist Tom Wessels has spent more than twenty years interpreting New England’s landscape and teaching others to see “the forest for the trees.” An intrepid sleuth and articulate tutor, Tom will teach us how to interpret the landscape the way one might solve a mystery. What exactly is the meaning of all those stone walls in the middle of the forest? Why are pine trees dominant in one patch of forest and maples in another? How do you tell the age of a beaver pond and determine if beavers still live there?

This interactive presentation will guide us to a fuller understanding of our home ground. After a short introduction to reading forested landscapes, Tom will interpret photos we submit of landscape features we would like explained — oddly growing trees, unusual scarring on a tree trunk, or a patch of young saplings amid dense forest, for example. Through Tom we’ll learn to see the forest in a new light. No walk in the woods will ever be the same!

About Tom

Tom Wessels is Professor Emeritus at Antioch University where he founded the master’s degree program in Conservation Biology. As a terrestrial ecologist he has interests in forest, desert, arctic, and alpine ecosystems, plus a strong interest in evolutionary ecology, complex systems, and sustainability. He is author of numerous books, including the highly acclaimed Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England. His latest, New England’s Roadside Ecology: Explore 30 of the Regions Unique Natural Areas, will become available during spring of 2021.