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Cynthia King owns eleven acres of woodlands in Amsterdam, NY and lives on an adjoining property, which is jointly owned by King and her husband Thomas Dandrew. The land had at one time been farmed which means that there are very few "nice old trees" with the exception of several growing on a steep slope. Her property includes an apple orchard and an old field in which oaks and sugar maples have seeded themselves. King comments, "now the woods are marching through the field and up to the house I’m hoping that I won’t have to mow three acres of lawn." The property features a stream, a few very old maple trees and fairly mature younger trees that show a good age gradient.
When asked how she manages her woodlands King replies "as little as possible." She does have a forester, Mike Greason, who asked what she wanted to do with it. Her response, "not a lot, really, I like it the way it is." Although the woodlands would support a small timber sale King doesn’t believe she has any great needs and has let her woodlands "do their own thing". The stream was a feature of the property that King was really looking for but has surprised her as well. King reflects, "I stupidly thought that streams stayed in the same place but no they don’t, they move." This stream movement has affected some of Kings projects. She has started gardening in the woods planting native wildflowers and is a volunteer propagator at the George Landis Arboretum. This project has gone well for some species but others have been flooded out or eaten by deer. King also takes time to make paths through the multiflora rose to the top of her orchard where she hopes "one of these days real trees will grow." She has taken some initiative to help these "real trees" out and planted Black Walnuts and Shagbark Hickories several years ago, which are now 5-6 feet tall.
She became a Master Forest Owner in 1999 in response to challenges she had protecting her own woodlands and now enjoys learning from as well as teaching others. She is passionate about wildflowers and understory plants and while on woods walks she will take time out to photograph them. She also enjoys bird watching and the general relaxation of being in the woods where it is "nice and quiet"
The story of King’s acquisition of the land is nothing short of spectacular. She was in a nearly fatal car accident but after a very long stay in the hospital she and her husband decided to sell the house they owned and buy their current home because it had a view. When King was young she had a stream behind her house and had always wanted one of her own. While exploring after they moved in she discovered the stream and woodlands that she now owns and decided to contact the owner to try and purchase the land. He agreed to sell her the 11+ acres and King used money from her accident. When the property owner’s wife visited King to drop off the deed and some other paperwork she thought that she recognized King. She (King) recounted how fortunate she was to be buying this property because of her accident. As the story unfolded it turned out the property owner’s wife (a nurse) realized she knew King because she was the second person on the scene of her accident and was the one to recognize that King’s seatbelt was choking her to death and assisted the first responder with cutting the seat belt so she could breathe. I can say it no better than King when she said, "obviously, I was meant to have it."/
The series of events that has lead King through her path of woodland ownership has given her perspective. She is now concerned with managing the woods as you get older and ensuring that there are sufficient pathways for her to continue walking in and enjoying her forest. King’s recommendations to other forest owners include posting your property to avoid trespassing issues. Also, having someone come and look at your property and teach you about woodlands. "I know a lot of people who think their woods are wonderful but have no clue what do with them or all the possibilities that exist."
PO Box 541 Lima, NY 14485
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