Land Conservation Committee Walks with Consultant

Land Conservation Committee Walks with Consultant

Barbara Walvoord for the Land Conservation Subcommittee

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Consultant Laurie Sanders walks Lathrop’s land with (from left) Jim Dowell, Diedrick Snoek, Sharon Grace, and Barbara Walvoord. Also walking on June 30 and July 1 at the Easthampton campus were Adele Dowell, Roger Gustavsson , and Chuck Gillies (photographer).

Monday and Tuesday, you may have seen an intrepid group of Land Conservation Committee members walking through our woods, fields, and wetlands, with our consultant Laurie Sanders. Yep, we were the ones with cameras, clip boards, hats, and long pants tucked into our socks.

Our mission: To work with Laurie on a long-range plan for managing our 177 acres of Lathrop East land, so as to nurture our wild life and native environment.

On Thursday, we’ll walk the Northampton campus. Then we’ll be ready to complete our plan for both campuses.

Laurie is a naturalist who has for years been working to assess conservation areas and plan their management in the Northampton area and elsewhere. She has a long resume of accomplishments. You may have heard her on NPR.

What Did We Learn?

What did we learn from Laurie so far?  Bottom line: we have beautiful and precious land with many native plants that support wildlife. We have some serious problems with invasives, but not as bad as some of the conservation land that Laurie has worked with in Northampton. We can make genuine progress. We can prevent our woods, wetlands, and fields from being totally overgrown with invasives that do not support our native wildlife, birds, and insects.

Here are some highlights.

Our Wonderful Wet Meadows!

Laurie went WOW! about our two “wet meadows” that are real gems, increasingly rare to find in this area, full of native plants, and nourishing to birds, butterflies, and a host of other creatures.

One of these meadows is right behind the houses on Cranberry, Spiceberry, and Teaberry Lanes. The other is at the end of the wide mowed woods path.

Boblinks!

Bobolinks  are increasingly threatened as their grassland habitat is destroyed. They need quite large fields of grasses that are not mowed until the chicks, in their ground nests, have fledged–usually about July 7.  In the south field that begins behind the houses on Mulberry Lane and stretches out to the west, we heard bobolinks. Fantastic! Our land offers them a home. Though part of our field is hayed by a local farmer, nothing has yet been cut, so the little fledglings are safe. Laurie called this wide field, with its patches of wetland, one of the most beautiful pastoral scenes in the area, and we agreed. You folks on Mulberry Lane have been hiding a wonderful treasure.

Stay tuned. You’ll hear more about the results of our committee’s work with Laurie. In the Fall, Laurie will make a presentation to all residents about the natural history of our land, its present status, and its possible future.

 

Consultant Laurie Sanders walks Lathrop’s land with (from left) Jim Dowell, Diedrick Snoek, Sharon Grace, and Barbara Walvoord. Also walking on June 30 and July 1 at the Easthampton campus were Adele Dowell, Roger Gustavsson , and Chuck Gillies (photographer).

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