Oxford’s maple trees & syrup program enlightened many

OXFORD – The Oxford Historical Society presented “Historic Maple Trees of Oxford,” for their April 21 spring meeting at the Depot-Museum. Guest speaker Greg Owens, the DEC Senior Forester from Sherburne gave a power point presentation about the historic fluctuation of tree growth in Chenango County and the influences of change. In addition were Oxford commercial maple syrup farmers, Lawrence and Suzanne Wilcox, and Charles and Winnie Vigus and family who shared insights into the challenging business of modern syrup production.

The program began with Greg Owens’ “Chenango’s Regrown Forest,” a history of settlement, clearance and re-growth of our area’s trees. With illustrations and photos, his slide show depicted the landscape changes over the years. At one point the land was 75% cleared of trees! Thanks to Pres. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps of employed men (of which there were five in Chenango County), while stimulating the economy, replanted many trees that we enjoy today. Chenango County’s re-forested land, 70% of it now, helps provide clean water and oxygen for our healthy environment. Toward the end of his presentation, Greg narrowed his discussion in on red, black and sugar maples.

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