Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol
This past October, we put together a quiz that tested readers’ knowledge of topics we’d covered over the preceding year in Northern Woodlands magazine, The Outside Story weekly article series and blog posts. This quiz has become a popular feature of our individual fundraising efforts for the nonprofit – which, ahem, are critical to our work (please consider a gift).
It’s entertaining putting together this quiz. As one reader, Andrew, noted: “haha someone had fun doing the wrong answers.”
Indeed we did, Andrew. And too bad, so sad, you fell for a couple of them! In the end, only eight of you got perfect scores, including a disqualified friend of the nonprofit, who tried to sneak in under the alias “Dirk Schmeltbottom.” From the remaining perfectly scored seven, we randomly selected two winners.
Congratulations to Robert MacGregor and Rob & Judie Nelson, who will receive magazine gift subscriptions to share with friends. And thanks to everyone who took the quiz, and/or supported the nonprofit this year!
Below are the correct answers. You can read the questions here.
1(A). Stone walls weren’t most often built to pen animals. They do vary in appearance, depending on how deeply the stones were buried in glacial ice. They were often built in late fall and winter (when farming was less intensive) and in our re-forested landscape, they greatly enhance habitat diversity. If you’d like to learn more, check out this interview with the University of Connecticut’s Professor Robert Thorson in the Summer 2018 issue of the magazine.
2(C). As noted in Laurie Morrissey’s The Outside Story article this past August, “kingfishers are among the few birds in North America that nest in cavities they excavate themselves.” They typically dig their homes, which can extended as far as 15 feet into the earth, in steep banks above water.
3(B). This was one of few questions that most people answered correctly. Alvin Orlando Lombard is not the name of poetry editor of Northern Woodlands magazine (our editor is Jim Schley). Nor, as far as we know, did he have expertise in wading bird research or dominate the Maine commercial blueberry market. He built some of the earliest steam haulers for logging jobs. You can read more here, drawn from the book Adirondack Logging by William J. O’Hern.
4(A). One of you expressed interest in taste-testing cedar flavored frozen beverages. But “hand-split shakes” are an old-fashioned form of wall and roof covering. This question was inspired by a “Field Works” profile of shake and shingle maker Jeff Dow, Jr., available in the print copy of the Autumn 2018 magazine.
5(B). Brown rot fungi may have potential as a low-maintenance pet for busy foresters, but as far as we know, no one has ever researched this. Check out this Spring 2018 piece by Todd McLeish, describing the fungus’s potential for biomass conversion.
6(C). Eastern hemlock is a mid-to late-succession species. One of our most popular The Outside Story articles from the 2017-2018 year was this article on forest succession by frequent contributor Joe Rankin.
7(E). No, EAB does not stand for Edward Allen Biltmore, or an “End All Barberry” lobbying group. It’s an acronym for one of our forests’ least-welcome visitors, the emerald ash borer. We’ve referenced the insect frequently in the past year; here’s a recent example.
8(D). Credit for the protection of Big Reed Forest – probably the largest contiguous stand of old-growth east of the Mississippi – goes to a number of people and organizations, including the Pingree family, the Nature Conservancy, and the State of Maine. If you’d like to learn more about the forest, check out our Autumn 2018 print magazine, and this blog entry.
9(D). Almost everyone missed the question, which of course had us cackling gleefully – especially for how many of you fell for our faux science beaver dropping/black spruce growth suppressant answer! One of you noted you had an unlikely advantage – you live “a few doors down” from researcher John Pastor. Here’s the relevant text from writer John Litvaitis in this Autumn 2018 article:
“In northern Minnesota, forest ecologists John Terwilliger and John Pastor were puzzled as to why black spruce trees were rare in abandoned, drained beaver meadows, yet very common in surrounding forests. Using information on the diet and distribution patterns of red-backed voles, a major consumer of truffles in that region, these researchers were able to demonstrate that it was the reluctance of voles to enter the meadows and the lack of their spore-filled droppings that limited black spruce from colonizing the meadows.”
10(B). By the time many of you reached this last question in the quiz, you’d given up and were just being silly. At least that’s how we explain why a number of you agreed that woodworkers have a superstitious belief that box elder wood can ward off spam emails. The correct answer: box elder can be beautifully flamed, with bright red patterns. See this blog entry by Dave Mance.