First published in the Lathrop Lamp Post of Sept. 4-11, 2018
Having arrived in the U.S. as packing material for porcelain, Japanese stilt grass now invades river banks and forests, smothering native plants, including tree seedlings; secreting chemicals toxic to other plants; and significantly reducing wild life, except a type of invasive rat, which loves it.
Seeds arrive in streams and animal hooves, and are viable in the ground for 5 years. Japanese stilt grass has newly come to Lathrop’s campuses, but WE’RE ON IT!
First published in the Lathrop Lamp Post of Aug. 25-Sept. 3, 2018
By Barbara Walvoord
Last week I wrote about our wonderful success in removing invasive plants from our north campus woods. More broadly, we’ve removed invasives from fifty acres of our forests on both campuses.
The bad news: Alien invasive ground covers like vinca (also called periwinkle or myrtle), pachysandra, English ivy, ajuga, and snow-on-the-mountain are sneaking into the woods from surrounding gardens or arriving when residents throw plant parts into the woods. Continue reading Sneaking in the Woods→
On July 9, nine residents trekked through fields and woods to the far north section of the east campus along Bassett Brook. This land is largely invisible to most residents. It lies beyond our trails and beyond the “Free Fifty” acres of forest from which we’ve removed invasives in the past.
It’s still a basically healthy forest, quiet and beautiful, with maples and pines on rolling slopes along the multi-channeled Bassett Brook and its wetland. But scientific research shows that the increasing presence of invasive plants like multiflora rose, shrub honeysuckle, and oriental bittersweet could significantly reduce the wildlife our land can support (http://www.inwoodlands.org/what-do-our-private-invasive/).
Originally published in the Lathrop Lamp Post, Dec. 21, 2018.
The new Republican tax bill is all over the news lately, but we’re not the first people who’ve had to think hard about taxes at this holiday season. Hannukah celebrates the rededication of the temple in the year 165 BCE, after the Jews, oppressed by cruel taxes and other wrongs, had risen up and defeated their Greek occupiers. In the Christian story, the reason Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem in the first place was because Rome had decreed that “all the world should be taxed,” and Jews must travel to the town of their family’s origin to pay up. A carpenter and his 9-month pregnant wife had to walk or ride a donkey to a hugely overcrowded town with not enough hotels. American colonists were so mad about British taxes on tea that on December 16, 1773, they dumped their own precious tea into the Boston harbor. Continue reading Taxes→
First appeared in Lathrop Lamp Post Oct. 21-27, 2017
More than 80 residents, Valley conservationists, and members of the public gathered on Oct. 21 to celebrate Lathrop’s removal of invasive plants from the “Free Fifty” acres of forest on both campuses–a unique accomplishment that science suggests will increase the wildlife on our land. A program in the Inn was followed by guided walks on both campuses. The audience included many of those who helped us: consultants from 7 prominent conservation organizations, 28 resident volunteers who removed invasives, scores of residents who donated funds, and 3 granting agencies (Kendal Charitable Funds, Community Foundation of Western Mass., and the Northampton Community Preservation Committee).
Guided walk participants expressed their delight in walking through woods that are not choked with invasive plants, and said over and over how amazed they are at our accomplishment. Lathrop is a visible participant in the Valley community of those who care about nature, conservation, and wildlife. A collage of photos is at Free 50 collage LampPostFree50 em. Copies of the handout materials are at https://lathropland.wordpress.com/free-fifty-celebration-oct-21/
First published in the Lathrop Lamp Post for Sept. 16-22, 2017
In the past three years, we’ve removed literally thousands of invasive multiflora roses from our land–roses that crowd out native plants but fail to support wildlife as fully as our native plants do.
Join us October 21 at 1 p.m. in the Inn to celebrate the demise of these roses and other invasive plants on our “Free Fifty” acres of land, on both campuses. The program is also open to the public. Pre-registration is required because space is limited. Residents will receive invitations in their mailboxes soon.
We’re also adding roses–native ones in the native plant landscaping area near the Inn. On Sept. 18, at 10:30, residents may gather there for a short celebration, including an explanation by our landscape Continue reading Roses Out, Roses In→
(Originally printed in Lathrop Lamp Post, June 22, 2017)
Lathrop’s “Free Fifty” is 50 acres of forest from which, in the past 3 years, we’ve been removing invasive plants in order to increase native plants and the wildlife that depends on them.
Our achievement is visible as we compare two sections of our forest–one where we have removed invasives with one area where we have not (Photos June 19, 2017).
The contrast is stunning. On the north side of the Farmer’s Field, where we have not worked, huge invasive multiflora rose bushes, now in bloom, “exclude most native shrubs and herbs…and may be detrimental to nesting of native birds” In the background,invasive Oriental bittersweet vines are strangling the trees.
On the south side where we’ve worked for three years to remove invasives, you’ll see piles of dead multiflora rose and bittersweet vines. Among them, native plants are arising, like the native gray dogwood pictured above. It delights us with its lacy white blossoms, and it hosts the larvae of 115 species of native butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera). These caterpillars are a large part of the diet of many baby birds. (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/hostplants/.) Continue reading What We’ve Achieved→