Tag Archives: Programs

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.


Nurturing Lathrop’s Land and Wildlife: Presentation to Lathrop Residents, Jan. 12, 2014, by Barbara Walvoord

Nourishing Lathrop’s Land and Wildlife: Presentation by Barbara Walvoord to Lathrop Residents, January 12, 2014.

Powerpoint slides can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/s/kfkuqsy6be8izl5/lathrop%20green%20res%20present%204.pptx?dl=0

Wonderful workshop on Land Conservation (But we WILL plan easier walks than this!)

If you saw 14 soaking wet people trudging along the east campus woods path on Saturday, September 13, that was us.

Earlier, more than 30 people, including Lathrop residents and local land conservationists, had gathered in the Mt. Tom room to see a highly informative presentation on invasive stilt grass by Cynthia Boettner, Director of the Invasive Plant Initiative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Activities Director Deborah Peavey had made the arrangements, and Meriam Elgare at the front desk helped to direct guests and Continue reading Wonderful workshop on Land Conservation (But we WILL plan easier walks than this!)

Bees and Bears on our Lathrop Land


Bees and Bears on our Lathrop Land

For Lamp Post “Easy Being Green” for August 21, 2014

Barbara Walvoord

Land Conservation Subcommittee members walked the land on July 31 with a biologist and a soil conservationist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), who helped us understand how to support birds and pollinators in our fields. On August 14, we walked again with Chris Polatin and Joan Deely from Polatin Ecological Services, which will submit a bid to remove invasive plants.

We’ll be writing soon about their reports and the committee’s  plans for managing our land. See  our website: lathropland.wordpress.com.

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Walking our fields with experts from the NRCS are (from left) soil conservationist Nikki Thibault; residents Chuck Gillies, Lyn Howe, and Barbara Walvoord; Property Committee member Peter Rowe; and residents Roger Howe, Adele Dowell, and Jim Dowell. Biologist Marianne Piche is behind Barbara. Photo 7/31/14 by Sharon Grace.Shortly after this photo, some native ground-nesting bees objected to our presence. We called ahead, and when we returned to the Inn, Lucy DeVries, RN, from Lathrop wellness services, was waiting with soothing ointment. Roger Howe won the prize for the most stings–7.  Isn’t it great to know that not all bees have been extinguished? Some are alive and well on Lathrop land.


Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)


Native Indian Pipe the group observed in the woods on both north and east campuses, as we walked with Chris Polatin and Joan Deely of Polatin Ecological Services. .Photo 8/14/14 by Sharon Grace.


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Biologist Marianne Piche points out a bear track to Peter Rowe and Lyn Howe, as soil conservationist Nikki Thibault follows. Photo 7/31/14 by Sharon Grace.

Lathrop’s Alien Invasives

Lathrop’s Alien Invasives

Lamp Post Easy Being Green for August 14, 2014

by Barbara Walvoord

We haven’t seen little green men (or women) running around our land, but we’re on the lookout for another type of green invasive–plants that originated outside our own environment and that, having left behind the enemies and competitors that kept them in check in their native lands, now run amuck, crowding out the native plants that sustain our native birds, bees, butterflies, and all the critters that depend on them.

Here’s our killer statistic (again!): 96% of birds need insects to feed their young. 90% of insects eat only native plants (Douglas Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home).

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So you may have seen Land Conservation Subcommittee members, looking a bit like aliens themselves in their boots and hats, armed with loppers and plastic bags, wading out into our wetlands to behead the invasive Purple loosestrife so that its blossoms don’t go to seed. One plant can produce up to a million seeds. Purple loosestrife reduces populations of turtles, ducks, salamanders, and many other native creatures.


And today you will see committee members accompanying a contractor with a GPS, tramping around our land to estimate the cost for removing invasives in some of our most sensitive and valuable areas,  such as our lovely wet meadow behind Cranberry/Spiceberry/Teaberry on the east campus where invasive Purple loosestrife is moving beyond our volunteer beheading capabilities, or the precious woodland on the north campus where invasive Barberry is coming in along the creek.

Is it hopeless? I think we can take a hint from how responsible humans have addressed hunger. Hunger is a huge, overwhelming, disastrous problem. But that doesn’t mean we don’t contribute to the food bank in our own county..