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Woods Committee

Washington Grove’s Forest Preserve is a diverse, multi-storied, self-sustaining ecology of native trees, shrubs and plants. Its hallmarks are a full canopy, a succession of native trees and a wide variety of native plants at every level of the forest. As a vibrant ecosystem it supports native plant species and habitat for native animal communities, continuously enhances the soil, and resists the invasion of non-native species.

The Committee’s Mission

The Woods Committee is charged with following the Forest Stewardship Plan which was approved and adopted by the Town of Washington Grove in December 2015. This plan takes an integrated approach to forest health restoration and management of the town’s Forest Preserve which encompasses both the East and West Woods. The plan is intended to prevent further degradation of the Forest Preserve, to offer a roadmap for restoring and preserving it as a healthy, self-sustaining forest ecosystem, and to help ensure that its benefits are available to future generations.

Goals supporting this mission include:

  • minimizing over-browsing by deer;
  • removing and controlling the spread of non-native invasive plants;
  • planting native trees to fill holes in the canopy and reforest open areas;
  • proactively protecting native trees at all stages of growth to rebuild the natural succession;
  • re-establishing a healthy mid- and understory through regrowth and replanting;
  • protecting existing tree canopy, reforested areas, sensitive plant and animal habitats and other high-priority areas through education, signage and, if necessary, physical barriers;
  • protecting sensitive areas—federal and state-designated wetlands, streams and their buffers, 100-year flood plains, habitats of threatened and endangered species, and steep slopes—from the adverse effects of development and over-use; and
  • preserving the natural quiet and unique forest auditory experience, which includes the presence of birdsong, movement in leaf litter, wind through trees and other woodland sounds as well as the absence of man-made noise pollution from motors and active recreation.

Benefits of a Healthy Town Forest Preserve

  • Improves air quality and moderates temperature.
  • Provides protected habitat for plants and wildlife in a region of diminishing habitat. Protection includes quiet for breeding and nesting, walkways that avoid nesting and breeding sites, and a healthy mid-story which many birds require.
  • Prevents erosion and water quality degradation of the headwaters of three significant waterways.
  • As a place of quiet, beauty, inspiration and sanctuary, it enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors and offers opportunities for passive recreation, exploration and discovery throughout the year.
  • It is an important part of the town’s identity (A Town within a Forest), a contributing factor to the Washington Grove experience, and a setting that, in all likelihood, adds to the value of homes in town.
  • Provides natural buffer from surrounding development.

Doug Tallamy’s Presentation “Homegrown National Park”

In this talk, which was sponsored by the Town’s Sustainability, Forestry & Beautification, and Woods Committees, Dr. Doug Tallamy, T.A. Baker Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware, explains to Grovers what they can do to support a healthy ecosystem and why that’s important. He describes an approach to conservation that empowers each of us to play a significant role in the future of the natural world.  Watch the video here.


Pat Klein
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Joan Mahaffey
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Meeting Agendas and Minutes

Our meetings are regularly held on the first Monday of each month. All agendas and minutes are in the Committee’s Google docs folder at bit.ly/WG-WoodsCmteDocs.

Woods Committee News

The latest news from the Committee is described in the Woods Committee section of the most recent monthly Town Bulletin.

2018 Forest Preservation Presentation

2018 Forest Preservation Presentation

[ VIDEO: The Woods Committee hosted an Informational Meeting on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 7:00 PM in our Town Hall as part of our commitment to updating our town residents on the Washington Grove Forest Restoration Project. ]

We invited experts for guidance as we continue to move forward with our three-pronged approach to restoring the health of the East and West Woods. Invited speakers were Mr. Bill Hamilton, Natural Resources Manager of the Montgomery County Deer Management Program and Mr. Jonathan Kays, Natural Resources Specialist and Forester, University of Maryland Extension – Western Maryland Research & Education Center, who shared their expertise and experiences in deer population management, forest health, and invasive plant control.

The meeting included presentations by the Woods Committee and the invited speakers followed by discussion with the town residents who attended.

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