I spent last weekend at Loon Lake in British Columbia attending a regional retreat for members of Amma’s Pacific Northwest satsangs. Those retreats are a time for devotees to meet together in-between Amma’s visits for the purpose of doing spiritual practices, attending classes and building our sense of community. We were blessed to have one of Amma’s swamis, Br. Dayamrita Chaitanya spend part of the weekend with us.
On Sunday morning, I participated in a nature walk led by one of the weekend participants. Jayanand worked as a botanist and ecologist for the National Park Service for 18 years. He knows so much about the environment and I learned a lot.
I am always fascinated by fallen and decaying trees. There was a big fire in the forest near Loon Lake in 1868 and you can still see remnants of that fire.
Jayanand gave us this information about downed trees:
Downed trees play an important role in maintaining the health and regeneration of forests. Not only do they provide nutrient pools for other plants during stand regeneration, they often even serve as “nurse logs” which support the germination and growth of other trees by providing substrate, moisture and nutrients to the seedlings and young saplings. They also can act as carbon sinks by locking up carbon in the forest floor – instead of being released into the atmosphere by burning. Decaying wood provides habitat for a variety of plants and animals, adding to the diversity of life found in forested areas. Finally, downed woody material can also help prevent runoff and soil erosion.
Here are some photos from our walk:
(Click photo gallery to see enlarged photos in slide show format.)