Public use of North Woods to be topic of open forum: Students organize discussion for their senior project

Posted by Julia Leef

Adam Schmelkin '12 and Charles Glassberg '12 have planned an open forum to discuss the opportunities for public use of the College's North Woods, as well as initiatives to protect and conserve the property.

The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, in Davis Auditorium.

The North Woods is a 170-acre tract of forested land extending north from the College's main campus. The area is home to numerous native species, including migrating songbirds and 33 types of ferns. With southern oak, hickory and northern hardwoods, as well as ponds and marshes, the woods support a biologically diverse animal and plant population that is important to faculty and student research. Much of the area is available to the public.

The forum will be of special notice to joggers, hikers, dog-walkers, bird-watchers and others with an interest in the natural environment. 

"Come and join this discussion to help build a sense of stewardship and respect for this piece of property that many of us have the opportunity to enjoy," Glassberg said.

Schmelkin and Glassberg are environmental studies majors who work for the Sustainability office as North Woods stewards. Their responsibilities include public tours, trail maintenance, monitoring of invasive species and public outreach. 

As a senior project, the two students are researching the attitudes and behaviors of North Woods users as well as the challenges to land preservation in the area. The public forum is the culmination of their project, which will result in a report to the College with suggestions for managing and preserving the North Woods.

"We feel that it's crucial that the recommendations we develop reflect the diverse values of North Woods users," Schmelkin said. "This forum will help us refine our research on the values of community members. As a shared resource, the North Woods should be managed in a way that considers these varied values." 

For more information, contact Campus Sustainability Coordinator Riley Neugebauer at, or at x5865.

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