What I love about FLM&A Woods Walks...and why you should come to our next one!

The Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium’s annual Woods Walk at Charlie and Sarah Stackhouse’s property is coming up, Saturday, April 28, 9am to noon. I have been able to go to the two FLM&A Woods Walks, one in 2015 and one in 2017, both led by the Stackhouses. I am planning on going again this year, and know I will learn new things. I wanted to share some of the reasons I love these woods walks, and why I think you should come to our next one!

The best part about the FLM&A Woods Walks are the guides, Charlie and Sarah Stackhouse! They are some of the nicest, most generous people I have met! And they know so much about the forests in this area! They are volunteers in New York’s Master Forest Owner (MFO) program (; a wonderful resource for anyone living in New York State. The MFO program “provides private woodland owners of New York State with the information and encouragement necessary to manage their forest holdings wisely.” This information and encouragement comes from amazing volunteers, like the Stackhouses! (Here is a photo of Charlie in his garage showing growth rings on tree biscuits.)

I first met Sarah Stackhouse in 2015, shortly after my husband and I purchased

11 partially-forested acres near Hammondsport. We knew we wanted to understand our land better and be responsible about how we managed it. I contacted the MFO program and requested a free woodlot site visit. Sarah got in touch with me, and spent a couple hours walking with us, helping us identify trees and plants on our land, sharing what was native or invasive, and giving us advice based on our land use goals. We learned that it was Emerald Ash Borers that killed the Ash trees on our property, and in surrounding communities. She told us to keep an eye out for the invasive pest called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on our Hemlock trees. We learned that we had some old Shag Bark Hickory Trees on our land, and that bats often sleep under the shaggy bark. (Image here is a Shag Bark Hickory Tree on the Stackhouse Property.) We learned a lot more, and were very grateful for Sarah's visit.

So, when I learned that Sarah and Charlie offer Woods Walks on their own property located just outside of Branchport, I jumped at the chance to go and learn more! This photo was of the first walk we went on in 2015. I took my husband and our 2 year old son. Here is our group in front of a massive Oak tree on our 2015 walk:

The Stackhouse property is expansive! They have been working with their land for many years, and have examples of established forests in various stages of health and development, there are old vineyards that are being reclaimed by nature, emergent forests next to land being used for agriculture, there are gullies and meadows (like this beautiful meadow of Yellow Rocket).

The walk is not strenuous (although you should wear good walking shoes or boots). Last year we saw and learned about the importance of vernal pools and the plants and animals that surround them, and Charlie identified many trees, shrubs, flowers, and birds, with fascinating facts about each. Here are some fun things we saw on last year's walk:

These beautiful Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants:

We were lucky to see a Scarlet Tanager, which I learned was rare, since they often live deep in old growth forests. We did not get a photo, but here is an image of this beautiful bird from Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds website:

Charlie referred to this old pile of brush as a “Rabbitat” because they are good habitat for rabbits.

I love saying that word..."Rabbitat." Ha! Ha!

We saw and learned much more than I can describe here! I am so excited to go back this year! So...if you own some wooded property, or just have an interest in learning about forest ecology in the Finger Lakes, the FLM&A Woods Walk at the Stackhouse property will definitely be worth your time!

The Woods Walk is a free program, but we would love to know if you can come, so we know to wait for you, and we will be sure there is enough coffee for you!

Please sign up for the Woods Walk, and learn about other programs our website:

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Sailor - Hank Osborne
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3369 Guyanoga Road

 Branchport, NY 14418

Tel: 315-595-2200

A Cultural and Natural History Museum