Log Off...Shut Down...Get Outside!

Mess is Best: Part 2

Are you cleaning up your yards to get ready for winter? If you have space on your property, keep the sticks and make a brush pile. Many small birds will seek shelter in wood piles from hawks and other predators especially during the winter months.

brush pile with bird

As you hike at MetroParks you'll notice that leaves are left where they fall and downed trees are left in the forest to provide food & shelter for wildlife as they break down. Wood may take a couple of years to break down but as it does carbon is sequestered for longer than if it had been burned. What does carbon sequestration mean? Don't be intimidated because it is something that is going on every second of the day. Carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon dioxide from the air is taken in by trees and plants through photosynthesis. It is stored as carbon in the trunks, branches, roots, leaves and even in the soil, too.

Have you heard the expression "carbon sink"? An example are trees in a forest. This carbon sink helps to offset other sources that put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, such as deforestation, forest fires and fossil fuel emissions. It is a balancing act between these destructive processes and the natural carbon sinks such as plants/trees, ocean and soil.

white oak leaves fall

Guess which tree in MetroParks of Butler County parks is one of our best carbon absorbing species? The grand White Oak Tree! Grab a tape measure and find an oak tree along the trails in the parks (don't step off the marked trail pathway please). Measure the distance around the tree, called girth, roughly 4.5' from the ground. Send us the measurements to programs@yourmetroparks.net for us to share where carbon is being stored along the trails.

white oak bark leaf acorns image