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Forest Ecology Walk with Tom Wessels

Forest Ecology Walk with Tom Wessels

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Tom Wessels, professor emeritus at Antioch University New England, has studied forest, desert, arctic, and alpine ecosystems around the world, but has a special fondness for Mount Desert Island, a place where “earth, air, fire, and water—in the form of glacially scoured granite, winter winds, fire, and ocean fog—have converged to create a landscape that can be found nowhere else.” So much so, that he and his wife recently retired to Somesville where they live year-round.


Wessels has authored seven books, several focusing on forest ecology in New England. On Saturday, May 13th, 1-3pm, Tom will lead a guided walk near Lower Hadlock Pond in Northeast Harbor, discussing the natural history of the area. He’ll show us how to spot features of the landscape that hint at past events. For example, observing the topography of the ground may reveal “pillows” (mounds) and “cradles” (depressions) in close proximity. These can be indicative that long ago, a large tree blew over, its roots unearthing tangled soil and rocks, leaving a “cradle.” After years of decomposition, the roots, soil, and rocks create a nearby mound. This will be an amazing opportunity to tap into Tom’s nearly five decades of formal study, see the landscape through his eyes, and bring a greater depth of understanding and intimacy to your outdoor excursions.


After the walk, Wessels will be available for book-signing and follow-up questions at The Naturalist’s Notebook, 16 Main Street in Seal Harbor, where you can find “Granite, Fire, and Fog: The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia,” “Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape,” “Reading the Granite Landscape: A Natural History of America's Mountain Domes, From Acadia to Yosemite,” “New England’s Roadside Ecology: Explore 30 of the Region's Unique Natural Areas,” and more titles.

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