Autumn strips the deciduous forest to its skeletal frame. Winter allows for study of times past, present and future. This section of the Cook County Forest Preserve has many stories to tell. Unlike gossiped histories of assorted persons connected to forest the stories of nature are revealed through careful, fact-based observations. The oldest stories await unearthing by the ardent naturalist.
The trees of this preserve are a mixture of native oak and planted cottonwood and maple. The replanting took place in the 1950s, and it is evident that many have reached the end of their lives. Each year fallen logs are covered by new layers of leaves and twigs gradually decaying and becoming compost for new growth. Remaining vertical wood is treasured property for wildlife. The health and history of this patch of preserve are evident when examining trunk growth patterns and scars. With proper clothing and less snow than in this image, winter makes for great study of tree history.