The Waters of Lathrop #1: Underground Waters

by Barbara Walvoord

I intend this column to be the first in a series on the waters of Lathrop–on both campuses, the brooks, wetlands, rainfall, storm water management systems, and–for today–the waters under our ground.

The closest I could get to photographing our underground water is this hole in the Easthampton woods where underground water emerges as a stream.

Our Easthampton campus sits on top of the Barnes aquifer, which provides most of the water for Easthampton and several neighboring towns, making us very vulnerable if this aquifer should dry up or get contaminated. Surface water–rain and run-off–replenish the aquifer.

Easthampton taps its aquifer by 5 wells. Two wells produce water pure enough to go directly into our homes. The others need costly treatment for pollutants. This is a familiar story, isn’t it? Some purity and some threat–same as for our woods and fields on both campuses. Continue reading The Waters of Lathrop #1: Underground Waters

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Lathrop’s Electric Car Takes Residents to Woods and Fields

Barbara Walvoord

Lathrop’s electric car is not exactly an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), but on November 21, it successfully took four east campus residents on an off-road tour of Lathrop’s east campus land. In the car were Nell Wijnhoeven,  Fannie Stoloff, Jetty Wang, and Gerry LoGalbo.

Driven by our facilities director Mike (“I’ll drive anything”) Strycharz, the car visited three sites: From Cranberry Lane, it trundled down the lawn to the vegetable garden and bumped around the field to our magnificent 250-year-old oak tree. It left the paved part of Bassett Brook Road, glided along the grass past the blue garden shed, and followed the wide path through the woods to our lovely wet meadow. It even ventured out behind Mulberry Lane to view the long, beautiful vista of rolling field and wetland there.

The car’s four riders were amazed and delighted to see our land. “I never realized the enormous amount of acres!” said Nell Wijnhoven (in fact, Lathrop East has about 140 acres of undeveloped land, much more than the car riders could even see).

“It’s impressive what you could do with that land, ” said Nell. And in fact, that’s what the Land Conservation Subcommittee, working with Lathrop Management, is thinking about these days–what to do with our land, on both campuses, to sustain the birds, bees, butterflies, and other creatures we love.

The committee’s “trails team” planned this ride: team facilitator Eleanor Johnson, along with Chuck Gillies, Eleanor Herman, Roger Herman, Diedrick Snoek, and Marketing Director Michael Harvey. The team will plan more car rides, as well as other ways for residents on both campuses to enjoy our beautiful land.