On April 12, our very own Sigrist Woods at The Wilderness Center was inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network. Somewhat of a celebrity in the conservation world, Dr. Joan Maloof, Executive Director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, travelled to our area and presented a plaque to TWC’s Executive Director, Jeanne Gural, Board President Roger Baker, and Senior Biologist Gary Popotnik. The dedication celebrates the addition of the 19th forest to join the Old-Growth Forest Network in the state of Ohio.
Sigrist Woods are located on the lands of the Kaskaskia peoples, who inhabited this region before European settlement. The 21-acre old-growth area has been a dedicated State Natural Landmark since 1983. A number of trees in this old-growth area date to nearly 175 years old, as determined by field studies from the Wooster Tree Ring Lab at the College of Wooster. These are largely white oak (Quercus alba). In addition, there are burr oak (Q. macrocarpa) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum), in this old-growth forest.
The Old-Growth Forest Network (OGFN) connects people with nature by creating a national network of protected, mature, publicly accessible, native forests. OGFN intends to preserve at least one forest in every county in the U.S. that can sustain a forest. OGFN works to identify forests for the Network, ensure their protection from logging, and inform people of the forest locations. Founded in 2012 by Dr. Joan Maloof, the network currently has over 150 forests in the Network across 28 states. Sigrist Woods joined nineteen other Ohio forests already in the Network.
Dr. Maloof noted, “We look forward to adding more forests to the Network in the future. We depend on a volunteer in each county to help us identify candidate forests. Karen Koch, County Coordinator for the Old-Growth Forest Network has been an invaluable volunteer supporter. In addition to creating a network of forests, we are also creating a network of people who care about forests.” Interested volunteers are welcome to contact OGFN through the website: www.oldgrowthforest.net.