Page 9 - April 20, 2022
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{ 8 }  SNJ Today  |  APRIL 20, 2022                                                                                 APRIL 20, 2022  |  { 9 }

                                                                                                  Visiting Students

 feeling a bit nostalgic and a tad dramatic                                                             Find Your Fit
 myself. Yes, it runs in the family.      Dorer, right, looks over restoration plans with
 My great-uncle joined the Minnesota   Richard J. Dorer, left, large in stature as well as   partners. “Save Minnesota Wetlands,” sign is
     achievements, with presumably other Minnesota
 Department of Conservation in 1938 at   DNR staff/collaborators.   displayed prominently behind the collaborators.
 the ripe age of 48. He ultimately lived
 until 84 and my grandmother lived to 99.   Uncle Dick lobbied for the use of land   opportunities, watershed protection, and   Save Time, Save Money at RCSJ This Summer
 They were both active until the end of   and water conservation funds to buy   wildlife habitat. The forest is a blend of
 their lives. In fact my octogenarian uncle,  out these properties. It was during the   more than one million acres of public and
 a big man in stature, legendarily took   Depression and most people were likely   private lands, of which 45,000 acres are   Students from other colleges and universities can take RCSJ
 a would-be convenience store robber   happy to have their destroyed proper-  state-owned. The remainder is owned   courses and transfer college credits to their home university.
 to his knees by holding the wrist of his   ties purchased. Eventually he was key   by private individuals and commu-
 gun-wielding hand until the scoundrel   in orchestrating the expertise and will   nity groups. Much like the New Jersey   For more information
 relinquished his weapon. He simply said, of many organizations to restore the   Pinelands National Reserve,it is governed
 “Son, I don’t think you want to do that.”  Whitewater Valley. This was his job as a   by a land use management plan and
 Little did the young man know that this  public servant, but it was also his passion   detailed ordinances.    Find Your Classes
 bear of a man was a decorated veteran   and even in retirement he forged onward.   I have seen in my brief lifetime how
 who also planted thousands of trees to   Other agencies and groups involved in   people neglect to look to history as a
 restore a forest. One can only imagine the  the task were the U.S. Soil Conservation   way to avoid repeating our mistakes.   Session I – 15 weeks: (5/16 – 8/24)  Fall Registration
 crush of his huge labor-honed hands.  Service, U.S. Agriculture Stabilization   People thought that WWI would prevent   5A Session – 5 weeks: (5/16 – 6/16)  Open Now!
 Like much of our nation the slopes of  and Conservation Service, U.S. Civilian   WWII, and that WWII would always be
 the Whitewater Valley were deforested  Conservation Corps, Whitewater Soil   a reminder that genocide and atrocities   5B Session – 5 weeks: (6/20 – 7/21)
 for lumber, cordwood, and farming in the  and Water Conservation District, Izaak   should never happen again. Yet humans   5C Session – 5 weeks: (7/25 – 8/24)
 late 1800s. The invention of the tractor  Walton League, Winona County Fire   continue on their harmful paths.  7A Session – 7 weeks: (5/15 – 6/30)
 later allowed farming on steeper slopes  Warden System, and the Works Progress   As a veteran my uncle drew paral-
 to a greater extent than with horse and  Administration.  lels between the injustices to people and   7B Session – 7 weeks: (7/11 – 8/24)
 oxen. Then when crops were switched   My uncle single-handedly planted   those to nature; he saw these as one and   10A Session – 10 weeks: (6/20 – 8/24)
 to corn from wheat, erosion intensified  thousands of trees and seeds as did many   the same. He was an orator, a writer, and
 since corn doesn’t hold soil as well.   organizations. Some literature refers to   a poet. Next week, for Arbor Day I will     All applications accepted
 The steepest of slopes could not be   him as a Johnny Appleseed. Streambank   feature his poem that was once read at
 farmed but they could be grazed. Cutting stabilization was key to the success of   Arbor Day celebrations around the coun-
 and burning of vegetated slopes opened  his efforts. Areas that remained in agri-  try—“The Man Who Plants a Tree.”
 up greater areas to pasture. The over-  culture turned to contour plowing. The   For now, I leave you with his words:
 grazing of cleared hillsides killed the   lower portion of the Valley is the Dorer   “It is my belief that a river belongs to no
 remaining vegetation. The deforested   Pools, comprised of wetlands for migrat-  one. And it belongs to everyone. And no
 slopes could only absorb a three-inch   ing ducks, water absorption, and flood   one has any right to contribute to the
 rainfall in one hour without runoff. This  minimization. Diversions, terraces, and   desecration of a river… at the expense
 compounded erosion problems, allowing  ponds were built to reduce erosion and   of neighbors and fellow American citi-
 more water and soil to be transported   keep soil and water on upland slopes   zens…”
 downhill.   versus their rushing down into the valley.   It is with this philosophy that he
 By 1900 the Whitewater Valley expe- Forest management included replanting.   led hundreds of people to restore the
 rienced its first land-use-related flood. In Fencing was used to contain cattle and   Whitewater Valley. Today I reflect not
 1938 Richard Dorer arrived on the scene  exclude them from woodlands and steep   only on my uncle’s legacy but also on the
 at the Minnesota DNR. In that same year slopes.  importance of planting trees and on the
 the town of Beaver had flooded 28 times.   No matter where conservation hap-  many gifts they bestow. n
 In fact we visited once-existing towns   pens it takes a collective of people and a
 long since buried under many feet of soil. supportive government to make it work.   Source
 One church’s steeple was the only visible And conservation has to happen again   Minnesota’s Department of Natural
 remnant of a vanished village.   and again.  Resources, publications                       Cumberland Campus          Gloucester Campus
 Though many valley residents did   Today the Richard J. Dorer Memorial   Whitewater State Park Visitor Center
 nothing to cause the erosion and sub-  Hardwood Forest is an example of how   Minnesota     3322 College Drive         1400 Tanyard Road
                                                                                                                         Sewell, NJ 08080
                                                                                             Vineland, NJ 08360
 sequent flooding, they were the most   proper land and forest management can   The Ghost Tree Speaks, by Richard J.
 severely affected.  create a sustained income, recreational   Dorer
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