Located off of Route 120 just outside of Woodstock, Wolf Oak Woods offers visitors and passersby a sea of wildflowers and wildlife along a busy roadway. Not to mention the Wolf Oak, a large, 300-year-old tree with limbs that spread out and, overcome with their own weight, swoop down to touch the ground and grow back up again.
Volunteers, led by site steward Pete Jackson, worked in three-hour increments for almost-weekly “Wolf Oak Wednesday” workdays for about five years at the site. Several of the last workdays in 2022 were dedicated to removing a large number of mature, non-native black locust trees. This effort opened up an area large enough to see on Google Earth! In April 2022, volunteers’ hard work paid off when brush clearing was no longer needed at the 30-acre preserve.
TLC staff continues its work to stave off invasive species like teasel, thistle, parsnip and phragmites, which are still present at the site, but in much lesser amounts than when the property was purchased in 2016. And in May, fifteen students from Woodstock High School came to the preserve to pull garlic mustard for their senior service day, totaling about 51 hours of work at the site in one day!
Not only has the work included removing invasives – native species are being added. In January 2023, Pete spread seed collected at Wolf Oak Woods and from several other TLC sites to boost the native plant populations.
What’s next for Wolf Oak Woods?
TLC will continue to manage invasive species and begin thinning trees in areas where mature white oaks dwell to get more light to the understory, which will allow more white oaks to grow and thrive. After all, one of these trees could be the next Wolf Oak, delighting visitors hundreds of years from now.