Hempfield walk will help in identifying common local trees | TribLIVE.com
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Jeff Himler
Spicebush, a woodlands shrub whose berries have a spicy flavor, is found throughout eastern North America.

If you can’t tell a black walnut tree from a black cherry tree, the Westmoreland Woodlands Improvement Association has a hike that will help.

The group’s tree identification walk will take place at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the J. Roy Houston Conservation Center, also known as the Westmoreland Conservation District barn. It is located behind the Donohoe Center, 218 Donohoe Road, in Hempfield.

The program will be led by Celine Colbert, a forester with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry. She’ll point out the characteristics of local tree and shrub varieties encountered on the non-strenuous, one-mile walk. She’ll also share some fun facts about the history and uses of each species.

The walk is expected to cover about 20 species that are common in the area, including red oak, red maple, yellow poplar and spicebush.

Colbert will discuss what sites are conducive to growing each species and methods that can be used to control other, invasive species.

Colbert, who is a certified arborist, holds a degree in forest ecosystem management. Much of her work focuses on increasing tree cover in neighborhoods across Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The walk is free for association members and students with a current student ID. It costs $5 for all others. The program will be followed by a social hour.

Registration is required by calling Sandy at 724-837-5271 by Sept. 17.

The association, which will mark its 30th anniversary next year, strives to encourage good management of woodlands for aesthetics, timber, water quality and control, wildlife habitat, plant propagation and recreation. It holds programs and field trips throughout the year.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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