Showing posts from April, 2015

Voices of the Future (4) - Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania

by Zachary Byers
Forestry major, graduating December, 2016

Our nation’s lands hold a wealth of diversity, impacted by the lifestyles and cultures of the people occupying it. While many of these additions have allowed America to grow and prosper, throughout the years there have always been a number of missteps. One of the clearest representations of this is the number of aggressive exotic plant species that continue to threaten and cause problems within our native landscape, known as invasive plants. The vast majority of these species, such as Garlic Mustard or Japanese Barberry, were introduced to the land on purpose. The reasons for doing so very greatly, from being ornamental to being a quick source of nutrition or even in hopes of preserving soil or water quality.

It’s not that these invasives are inherently bad; they simply cause too much stress in an environment where it can impact other species. The idea can be very straightforward, and even be explained in no more…

Voices of the Future (3) - The Plight of the Muskrats

by Dylan Bakner
Wildlife and Fisheries Science major, graduating May, 2016

The muskrat, a native species to North America, is a medium-sized rodent that inhabits a variety of aquatic ecosystems. This semi-aquatic mammal’s diet is largely based on vegetation that can be found within their habitat. The breeding season lasts from March through August. Females can have up to four litters, bearing an average of six kits per litter. Trapping season for muskrats in Pennsylvania lasts from the middle of November to the middle of January.

The muskrat population has been on a steady decline since the early 1980s. During the trapping season that spanned 2010 and 2011, Tom Hardisky, a furbearer biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, conducted a study looking at the juvenile-to-adult ratio of muskrats in the state. After accounting for 8,924 muskrat pelts, he found eight juveniles for every three adults. This study disproved the popular notion that disease was causing the p…

Voices of the Future (1) - The Use of Prescribed Fires on Pennsylvania Private Lands

FIRE – Not Such a Bad Thing After All          
by Coby Salmon Forest Science major, graduating May, 2016
To best understand how our forests in Pennsylvania work, you must know and understand their history.
The mixed-oak forest type dominated the Pennsylvania forests through the middle of the 20th century. Burned often by the Native Americans and then the settlers, the forests of Pennsylvania favored fire-adapted species. Heavily fire-adapted mixed-oak forest types need fires to maintain their dominance. The anti-fire regime started around 1911 with the implementation of the Weeks Act that established state fire wardens. The Clarke-McNary Act further expanded the anti-fire regime by improving the federal-state partnership for fighting fires.  Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Program provided an ample amount of manpower to be used to fight fires which led to the 10 a.m. Policy to further suppress fires.  The Smokey Bear campaign worked fantastically to bring people’…

Voices of the Future

Tomorrow, I'm going to start a new feature on Go Wood. It will be called "Voices of the Future", and it will feature guest posts by young people involved in the world of wood- and natural resource-related issues.

The first posts in the series will be contributions from this year's class of Penn State students taking Forest Policy 480. The students were assigned a term project for a significant portion of their semester grade, with that project being a blog post related to a forest policy issue of their choosing. They have been given the opportunity to share their posts on Go Wood, or not, and most have opted in.

The posts will be very much their own thoughts, in their own words and style. We discussed a list of possible topics during the semester, and many were presented to them through the course content and by the several excellent guest lecturers* in the course this year. But they were on their own to choose one of those topics or any other of their own choosing. …

Vacationing with Wood People

You've done the cruise thing. Disney, Hawaii, Paris. Check, check, check. Nice weather, good food, bad water, big crowds. Sensory overload with a hefty price.

This year, you want to get away from all those places that promise to get you away from it all, and herd you in with everyone else seeking to get away from it all.

Well this year, I can promise you, there is a place you can do it. There will not be massive jacked-up tourist prices...and the water is great.

And the few, normal, well-adjusted folks that you'll be sharing the week with are...wood nuts.

That's because, this summer, Penn State, the International Wood Collector's Society, and the International Association of Wood Anatomists, are inviting you, the Go Wood reader, to an event so unusual, so laid-back, so educational, and so woody, that news outlets around the world are totally ignoring it.

That event is World of Wood 2015.

But please, don't tell anyone...we want to keep this thing quiet.

Pondering a Future without Wood...while Watching the Games

Some of my overzealous colleagues over in Engineering are predicting that future technologies such as 3D printing will eliminate the need for wood harvesting and production completely. As you can imagine, I'm a bit dubious of their claim...I've been unable to envision how that might happen.

Well, I'm still dubious...but now, at least, I can envision their concept.

I know, it looks a bit slow and expensive, but so were the first horseless carriages. Still, I wish he'd print a full-size bat and get Aroldis Chapman to fling a ball at him. That would be a thing to watch...if he could ever hit one.

Well, if they're not going to go back to wood for hockey sticks, maybe they could try this stuff. Those carbon-fiber sticks they're using these days break so often the players are learning how to fake out the goalies with "broken stick shots."

No need to break into cold sweats, yet, Wood Guys...just enjoy the games and Go Wood while you still can.

Tip AmountOpti…

Why the Buildings of the Future will be Shaped by...You

Many of you have written to express your continuing interest in the wooden building series here on Go Wood. Today I have something a slightly bit different. In another of the thought-provoking TED-talk series, architect Marc Kushner provides us with a brief but interesting recent history of large building architecture, and shows how our cities were shaped in the past versus a completely different paradigm that is shaping our cities today. Coincidentally, it occurred to me as I watched his presentation that the social technology forces of which he is speaking are precisely the reason that wooden buildings are once again gaining traction.


Tip AmountOption 1 $2.00 USDOption 2 $4.00 USDOption 3 $10.00 USD

Great Designs in Wood (64) - Wooden Sunglasses

Occasionally, as part of my maintenance of this blog site, I have to visit the statistics page that the Blogger service provides me. On it, I can see things like how many times, total, any GoWood page has been "viewed" (514,359 times, so far), what sites are directing traffic to the blog, and basic information like what search terms are being used by people who find the site, and what country they are from. On that last point, no surprise that Americans are by far the biggest number of readers, and Canadians are a distant second. The rest of the list is somewhat surprising, though...

Who knew Go Wood had such a strong following in France? Merci beaucoup, vous tous, citoyens de la terre de liberté, d'égalité et de beaux bois!

One of the things that most web site managers do is try to figure out how to increase the amount of traffic that comes to their website. That's not really my forte...I just publish my posts and then let the internet do its thing. One of the thing…