Monday, October 02, 2023

Geezer Forum heads for the woods

by PAUL GRAVES / Contributing Writer
| September 8, 2023 1:00 AM

I have some fond memories of my efforts to earn my forestry merit badge in Boy Scouts (wow, almost 70 years ago)! Visual and olfactory memories draw me into wandering in the woods, camping there, cooking there. And in ways I didn’t appreciate then, learning there.

I also remember how difficult it was for me to tell which needles were white pine, red fir, lodge pole pine, etc. Ponderosa pine needles and cedar needles are still stuck in my memory. I enjoyed the sensory experience of the woods more than the memory work.

Those memories creep back into my thoughts almost every time I find myself on a trail in the woods, slipping into an open space in a grove of trees, or simply inhaling the fresh fragrance of pine pitch. But now, those memories are little mental triggers that remind me how critical the woods — wherever they may be — are to the survival of our very planet!

We geezers-in-training must never forget that as we age, so does the “natural world” we live in. We need regular physical, mental, and/or emotional adjustments to maintain our well-being. Likewise, the tiniest and largest forms of vegetation in our outdoor world need to be cared for also. We can be part of the care team that attends to that outdoor world.

A year ago in September, the Geezer Forum began its geezer season by gathering at Pine Street Woods — also known as PSW — as a simple way to reconnect with nature (and to introduce some of us to PSW). Next Tuesday, Sept. 12, we will return to PSW as we begin our next geezer season.

We will be learning, and re-learning, something about the care of our natural environment. Our teacher for this outdoor learning will be Bill Love.

Bill is a retired forester who worked for the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Dept. of Lands, and Inland Forest Management. He looks forward to at least one consulting project in 2024, so that he can claim one-half century of working in the forests of North Idaho.

Bill is one of the founders of the long-running (40 years!) Idaho State Forestry Contest held south of Sandpoint. Currently, he serves as chairperson of the Forestry Committee for Kaniksu Land Trust. It manages the trees of Pine Street Woods.

Beside basics about PSW, Bill will introduce us to the long-term forest management practices used by the Weisz Family (the original owners of this beautiful 181-acre parcel of forest) and now by Kaniksu Land Trust. Plus for those who are ready/able to stretch their legs, Bill will lead a casual walk along an ADA-accessible trail to extend our enjoyment of PSW.

For those who choose not to walk, Matt Honsinger, Folk School director for Kaniksu Land Trust, will have a surprise activity for everyone. We will gather at the PSW parking from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

The weather prediction is for sunny and mid-70s weather. There are benches available for sitting, but you might consider bringing your own chair also. Please join us.

If you don’t know where PSW is located, follow the Pine Street Loop Rd to the top and you will see a sign to PSW on your left. Or Google PSW, or call Kaniksu Land Trust (208-263-9471) for directions.

Paul Graves, M.Div., is the lead geezer-in-training for Elder Advocates, a consulting ministry on aging issues. Contact Paul at 208-610-4971 or

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