The Boston School Forest, as it is now collectively known as, was once an 80-acre and decidedly sandy farm field left in the wake of a pioneering dairy whose farmhouse yet stands nearby.
Two Extension agents, Harry Noble and M.P. Pinkerton, were active in creating a tree-planting program for the local schools of Maine, Morrill, Keene, Meehan, Sunnyside, Liberty Corners, Prairie and a one-room school a mile north of our farm. Every spring we looked forward to a long day planting trees with spades, with the older kids carrying the water bucket and trees and young kids the shovel. Field portions of about five acres were allotted to the individual schools and in the space of 15 years these lots were planted, with the result the now treasured Boston School Forest.
The simple act of a child-planted forest came to mind when reading a letter to the National Academy of Science by Raf Aerts and Oliver Honnay of the University of Leuven in Belgium. The letter highlighted what shows signs of gaining an urgent priority in applied ecology, specifically the role of forests in an increasingly stressed and populated planet.