Hurry!! Spring Wildflowers at Lathrop

By Barbara Walvoord

Spring woodland wildflowers face two problems:

  1. They can’t bloom before the soil is thawed
  2. They can’t bloom after the tree canopy cuts off their sunlight.

Between these two events, nature provides a window, because forest ground, under its leaf litter, freezes more shallowly and thaws more quickly than ground in open fields, and because forest trees Continue reading Hurry!! Spring Wildflowers at Lathrop


We Shot Our Porcupine–On Camera

by Barbara Walvoord

Last year, Eleanor and Richard Johnson and their family saw a porcupine in the big hole in our 250-year-old Addison’s Oak, on the east campus, directly west across the meadow from the  community garden.  Now, finally, Chuck Gillies has captured our porcupine in a photo.

Our porcupine does not hibernate in winter, but might have stayed “holed up” during particularly bad weather. Otherwise, it has ventured out to eat bark. I’m sure that none of our Lathrop creatures is more grateful for spring, with its abundance of soft leaves and skunk cabbage. Continue reading We Shot Our Porcupine–On Camera

Lathrop’s PG-Rated Bird Walk

by Barbara Walvoord

To greet spring birds, the Land Conservation Committee has already sponsored two bird walks, and one to come (Thurs., May 19, 8 a.m., at north campus meeting house, led by resident Judy Hyde). 

A PG-rated moment occurred on the east campus, when we saw two northern flickers going at it in a dead tree at the edge of the south field behind Mulberry Lane.

To win his lady love, our flicker might have had invite her, and defend his territory, by drumming on objects with his bill. Metal makes the loudest sound: one northern flicker in Wyoming could be Continue reading Lathrop’s PG-Rated Bird Walk

Glyphosate, Gasoline, Goats to Attack Lathrop’s Invasive Plants

by the Farm/Fields Subcommittee of the Land Conservation Committee,  and Thom Wright, Paul Westerfield

We have made great progress  removing invasive plants, but  we still have large thickets of multiflora rose, which crowds out native plants and diminishes the nesting success of birds (U.S. forest service: ( )

To remove these impenetrable thickets, we could spray with glyphosate herbicide, we could flatten them every year with a ground-compacting, gas-burning brush-hogger, or….

Hey, how about getting goats to eat them?  A Boston Globe article recently reported on the growing use of goats, which love to eat the Continue reading Glyphosate, Gasoline, Goats to Attack Lathrop’s Invasive Plants