Apr 29 2011

Pepper Meets a Wolf … Sort Of

Are there wolves at the Dvoor Farm?  I wish! Wolves haven’t been seen in these parts for many years.  I am currently the only representative of the canine species in residence at the farm.  Note the difference:

Canis domesticus                                                      Canis lupus

But it looks like there may be Wolf Trees at the Dvoor Farm, which doesn’t impress me nearly as much as seeing a real life wolf would, but the humans here seem pretty excited about it.  I just feign interest and stay close in the hopes they will drop some food on the floor in all their exuberance.   (This actually happens more than you’d think. The best was when some girl scouts came by, here’s me at snack time waiting for the goodies to come my way.)

Anyway, I went for a walk with MW and her friend Terrence Nolan, from the Trust for Public Land, Terrence pointed out this big, old, gnarly looking oak tree on the edge of the stream.

Terrence was pointing out all the nooks and crannies, the twisty limbs, alive and dead, and told us that old trees like this are called Wolf Trees.  Back when people were clearing the land for pasture, they sometimes saved a few trees to provide shade for grazing animals (and maybe their dogs, too).   As these trees grew older, they got bigger, shading out younger trees from growing — not much of a “team player”, probably wouldn’t do well in a pack, but eliminating its competition earned the Wolf Tree its name, coined by humans as homage to the wolf and its predatory practices.  Even though my brethren have not roamed the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic landscapes for many years, they still manage to inspire fear and awe!

Terrence told us that Michael Gaige, a conservation biologist, studied Wolf Trees in the Vermont forest and found them to be havens for wildlife; birds and mammals are drawn to these trees for food and shelter.  Something tells me squirrels love these trees.

Michael wrote this article about it,  I can’t read, but my human friends tell me it’s good.

Now that I think about it, maybe I can see the attraction to these Wolf Trees. That looks like a pretty good place for a nap…


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