Appropriately, students gathered on the edge of Little Donahue Lake and the open bog adjacent to it, both relics of Wisconsin’s last glaciation, to begin their exploration of the Lowenwood forest. As a group, students read a small excerpt about this most recent glacial event and the tundra it left behind in its wake. The stage was set for succession to begin.
In order to get to know the forest, you need to know a few names. Students were asked to observe five different trees and note their major characteristics. Then they were introduced by name: sugar maple, balsam fir, white birch, yellow birch, and hemlock. This exercise was meant to get students noticing and differentiating trees from one another.
Students then entered the forest on the southeast shore of Little Donahue to observe what trees were growing where. After discussing some different tree lifespans and growing habits, students started to make some educated assumptions about how the forest used to look and how it may look into the future.