Monday, July 30, 2012

Bretzfelder Series begins with Ms. Barb’s Nature Songs

Ms. Barb and Ms. Woodchuck  - Chris Whiton photo

This week marks the start of August, which means the summer session of the Bretzfelder Park Family Educational Series kicks off Wednesday!

Local naturalist and musician Barb Desroches begins the Bretzfelder series with her wonderfully entertaining and informative performance of Ms.Barb’s Nature Songs. Barb’s original music is packed with fun facts about the wildlife around us. She’ll bring along her animal puppet friends to help her entertain and inform.

Barb’s music is geared toward children aged 3 years and older, who will be encouraged to sing along. The fun starts at 7 p.m. this Wednesday, August1

The explorative learning continues August 8 with a guided tour of the Wildlife Habitat Trail of Bretzfelder Park.

The 1.5-mil trail, which opened last year, was designed to provide a year-round outdoor educational venue for families and local teachers. The trail traverses several wildlife habitats, including wetland, beaver marsh, spruce-fir forest, and deciduous forest. Interpretive signs along the way describe the various habitats and the animals living there.

The Wildlife Habitat Trail was developed in a collaborative effort between the Forest Society and Bethlehem’s Bretzfelder Park Committee, who work in conjunction to manage the park.

Priscilla Didio will lead the guided tour of the trail. Didio is a local naturalist and a teacher at Bethlehem Elementary School and helped design the trail’s interpretive signs and develop the trail as an interactive learning activity that appeals to all ages. For more information about the trail and the tour, check The Rocks calendar 
On August 15, the Bretzfelder Series continues with a program on the Owls of New Hampshire, as the Forest Society welcomes a naturalist and live owls from Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

The program will cover myths and facts about various owl species, as well as the habitat needs of owls. Check our calendar for additional details.

The summer Bretzfelder Series concludes August 22 with a demonstration of wild lands firefighting. District Forest Ranger Steve Sherman will lead the demonstration, with wardens from the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands and members of the Bethlehem Fire Department assisting. The firefighters will demonstrate how they use special tools, equipment and tactics to fight wildfires.

Weather permitting, the firefighters will conduct a live demonstration with a fire at the park. More information about the demonstration is on our calendar.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree – Shearing & Pruning at The Rocks

Chances are your thoughts are far from the chilly days of winter as you enjoy summer… but at The Rocks Estate, Christmas and Christmas trees are always on our minds!

Trimming the top...
In July and August our staff is busy in the field, basal pruning and shearing our thousands of fir trees by hand. Pruning and shearing help ensure that our trees grow into the lovely symmetrical Christmas trees our customers look for come the holidays.

We start shearing – shaping each tree by trimming its sides, and cutting buds from the top whorl to prevent multiple top branches – the first week of July. With more than 50,000 trees growing in our fields, it takes us all summer, right through to September, to complete this job.  

...and the bottom.
When a tree has been in the field for three years, we also basal prune, cutting the lower branches to a height of 6- to 10-inches from the ground. This allows better air flow around the tree, which helps prevent disease. It also ensures that the lower branches are not broken or twisted and the trees are not shaken when we mow between rows. And, of course, it allows a smooth “handle” for the customer to place the Christmas tree stand come tree trimming time!

With a weather cycle of rain followed by high heat this summer, we’ve also been doing extra mowing around our trees. So, rest assured, we’re looking out year-round for your future Christmas trees and making sure they grow up fragrant and beautiful!