“The movement for the conservation of wildlife [is] essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.”
– U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
Healthy Forests Mean Happy Wildlife
Thriving forests are not just good for people. If you care about wildlife, you need to care about what’s happening in America’s private forests. Sixty-percent of at-risk wildlife depends on private forests for habitat. In some watershed areas, 95% of at risk species occur only in private forests.
That's why at AFF we work with private woodland owners like Ginny and Tom Christenton of Lyndeborough, New Hampshire. Ginny and Tom moved to Lyndeborough because they loved the rural setting. By saving and investing over time, the Christentons were eventually able to purchase 800+ acres that border the Wapack National Wildlife Refuge. The Christentons manage those acres to provide additional wildlife habitat. They also maintain trails for Refuge visitors who can now see even more black bears, moose, foxes, and turkeys thanks to the extended habitat. Ginny and Tom are proud of their land, and proud to share it with the natural wildlife and those who enjoy a simple walk in the woods.
Woodland Plants & Wildlife
When you take a walk through the woods, you’ll have the chance to observe animals in their natural setting. It’s a great way to learn about behavior, observe species’ habits, and discover something new. Remember, you’re a guest in their home; use caution around any woodland animal.
Below are a few animals and plants you may encounter on your next walk in the woods.
- Small Mammals. Rabbits, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and badgers — it’s hard to imagine a forest without small mammals.
- Large Mammals. Deer, bear, bobcats, moose, and more – the forest is filled with large animals.
- Insects. Ladybugs, beetles, praying mantises, spiders, bees, and other buzzing bugs may give you the creepy crawlies, but they’re an essential part of the forest ecosystem.
- Reptiles & Amphibians. Gopher tortoise, turtles, salamanders, snakes, frogs, newts, and skunks; these scaly creatures are a common sight for many forest visitors
- Birds. Herons, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, bluebirds and cardinals; a good set of binoculars will help you get a peek at these fine-feathered friends.
Plant communities provide critical habitat for all woodland animals. Chances are you can find both native and non-native plants in your walk in the woods. Non-native invasive plants like Virginia Creeper, kudzu, and cogon grass are infesting our forests and threatening the local wildlife. Identifying which plants may threaten your forest is a first step in good management.
- Trees: Maple, Oaks, Elm, Aspen, Birch
- Shrubs: Veburnum, Azalea
- Vines: Grape, Poison Ivy, Virginia Creeper
- Conifers: Hemlock, Blue Spruce, Red Cedar, Pines
- Gymnosperms (seed-bearing plants): Holly, Cycads, Live Oak
- Angiosperms (flower-producing plants): Dogwoods, Royal Palm
- Swamps & Watersheds
During your walk in the woods, use this PLT Family Activity sheet to help your kids or grandkids learn about woods and the wildlife they are home to.