Late last fall, Roger Kuhns, Brian Buchholz, Katherine Schneider and Mike Schneider aged four of the white cedar trees growing along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment at The Clearing in Ellison Bay. They used an increment borer to extract a pencil-thick core of wood from a tree in order to count the growth rings and estimate the tree’s age.
After carefully counting tree rings using a hand lens, they discovered that the oldest tree had 397 growth rings. In the past, Kuhns has counted 800 growth rings at Peninsula State Park, and the oldest white cedar to date – at 1,740 years old – was found along the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Canada.
The Clearing plans to continue aging trees in hopes of finding some that are more than 1,000 years old.