In early October, I joined SUNY Plattsburgh instructor Mark Lesser and his students on a field trip to the Altona Flat Rock forest, where a fire burned more than 500 acres in July.
For me, the trip was a photography assignment for story that will appear in the November issue of the Explorer. The article, written by Tim Rowland, focuses on how the fire will impact species in this particular jack pine forest.
Jack pines are dependent upon fires. Their cones remain closed until they are exposed to the heat of a forest fire. Walking around the forest, I noticed hundreds of small jack pine trees had already began to grow as a result of the fire. Two other plants – huckleberries and blueberries – were also sprouting up from the darkened forest floor.
To learn more about what the class is studying and jack pine forests, watch this video of Lesser talking about the topic. The photos in the above gallery were also from that day.