Carroll County Forestry Board member Chris Spaur.
Carroll County Forestry Board member Chris Spaur. (Chris Spaur)

The Carroll County Forestry Board will host a Fish Grow On Trees workshop at the Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster Saturday, April 7. The $10 workshop begins at 8:45 a.m. and features several speakers and discussion. A tree seedling pickup will begin at 12:30 p.m. Registration is required.

The Times caught up with Chris Spaur to learn more about the event.


Q: Can you tell us a bit about the work you do with Carroll County Forestry Board?

A: I’m one of the Carroll County Forestry Board members. We work to promote forest conservation through a variety of means, including tree planting and education. The forestry boards of Maryland date back to the 1940s when forests were recovering from historic overharvest. Today, forests face quite different threats. Forests now are confronted by new diseases and pests, invasive exotic plants, and even unnaturally high populations of our own native wildlife, and the forestry boards have expanded their focus to include these issues.

Q: What will be discussed at the spring workshop?

A: The Fish Grow on Trees workshop has speakers who will talk about the relationship between forests and streams, as well as plants and wildlife of the streamside forests. In Carroll County, we often think about farmland as the appropriate condition for the landscape. However, historically prior to settlement, the landscape here was almost entirely forested.

Q: What are people often surprised to learn when they attend a workshop?

A: I think attendees may be surprised at how interconnected forest health and stream health are. However, I think workshop attendees might also be concerned to learn how precarious the future might be for our forests.

Q: What are you hoping participants will take away from the workshop?

A: I’m hoping the workshop strengthens attendees’ interests in and knowledge of nature, as well as sparking their enthusiasm to be involved in helping forests. While the workshop would appeal to people interested in native forest plants and animals, it’s also a chance to get to meet and socialize with people who have interest in nature.

Q: What is one change people could make to help Carroll County forests?

A: We used to look upon forests as something that could take care of themselves, even thinking that the best thing people could do for forests was to leave them alone. The world has changed. Invasive diseases and pests are limiting the ability of our native trees and shrubs to survive and reproduce. Unfortunately, our native deer, although important and beautiful, now occur in unnaturally high numbers because of loss of predators. They’re over-grazing the forests, preventing seedlings of many native trees and shrubs from becoming established and growing. To make matters worse, deer often favor eating native plant species over invasive exotic plants, essentially leaving invasive exotics to become the future vegetation of the landscape. In several decades, if we don’t work to ensure successful reproduction of native trees and shrubs, our forests won’t be as we know them today. If we’re going to keep forests into the future, we need to have as many people as we can interested in forests and involved in their care.