Saving our Lovely Woods on the North Campus

by Barbara Walvoord

This is a woods when invasive glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) takes over.

buckthorn rhafra_dense_stand01

It suppresses the growth of tree seedlings, so threatens the life of the forest . Its berries give birds diarrhea, so they excrete the seeds with a nice plot of fertilizer (very clever of the buckthorn), but the diarrhea weakens birds just as they prepare for migration.

The photo at the top is Peter Vantini, of Polatin Ecological Services, removing glossy buckthorn from the woods on the north campus this past week. This work was supported in part with funds voted by the Northampton campus Residents’ Association, by Lathrop Community Fund drive this past spring, and by parts of two other grants. Continue reading Saving our Lovely Woods on the North Campus


They Hatched!

by Barbara Walvoord

A few weeks ago, this column reported on the robin’s nest in the vine growing on my and Sharon’s front porch. Its four blue eggs were photographed by our grandchildren.

We read that only 40% of robins’ nests produce young, so as the days went by, and as our comings and goings made the brooding robins nervously leave the nest for a few minutes, we were ready for disappointment.

Then, one day, we noticed that the parents now stood up frequently and looked at their feet. The nest is too high for us to see inside it, Continue reading They Hatched!

Come Help the Loosestrife Loppers!

By Barbara Walvoord

On August 4, at 9 a.m., you can join the Lathrop Loosestrife Loppers at the end of Cranberry Lane by the gravel path to the community garden.

We’ll be an odd sight–a bunch of seniors in boots, slicked up with tick spray, carrying loppers, tromping (or hobbling) out into the meadow or along the edges of our ponds lopping off the heads of beautiful purple flowers, dumping the flowers into buckets, and hauling the buckets out to the edges (The committee will provide Continue reading Come Help the Loosestrife Loppers!