Tag Archives: trails

Trail Maps are Ready!

by Barbara Walvoord

It’s an absolutely gorgeous time to walk our land. We have 150 acres on the east campus and about 15 acres on the north campus of fields, meadows, brooks, and wetlands–peaceful, quiet, full of beauty. The Land Conservation Committee now offers trail maps.

East campus: Trail maps are available on a table in the far corner of the Inn mail room, in a clear plastic brochure holder, and also at  lathropland.wordpress.com/trail-map-Easthampton/. We don’t have any official wheelchair-accessible trails, but our two easiest east campus trails (#1 and #2 on the map) have, I know, been traversed by residents in electric wheelchairs. Watch for our future announcements of hikes and electric-car rides on the trails.

North Campus: The end of Shallow Brook Drive is the starting point for our two trails. The east trail  is marked with white blazes and the west trail with blue. Both are rough trails, a bit hilly, with rocks and roots underfoot. Both trails terminate on Boggy Meadow Road in the Fitzgerald Lake conservation area. The Broad Brook Coalition publishes a map of the Fitzgerald Lake trails, and that map also shows our trail, which is marked as a single “loop trail” toward the bottom of the map next to the mileage key. You can get a paper copy of this map from the lobby at the Meeting House, or download it from http://www.broadbrookcoalition.org/files/Fitzgerald_Lake.pdf.

Every Thursday at 9:30 a.m., a group, “Hiking with Hans,” leaves the Meeting House. If you are interested in joining and need more info, contact Hans Van Heyst at hansvh@comcast.net.

Happy hiking! Send photos and descriptions of your hikes–I’d love to incorporate them into our website and into future columns.

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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.

Progress Against Invasive Plants

-Barbara Walvoord

Yikes! This fall, you can clearly see how Lathrop’s woods are being invaded by alien shrubs and vines: the bright red of burning bush, the yellow-green of bush honeysuckle, the prickly multiflora rose and barberry, the orange berries of Oriental bittersweet vine. These plants still have leaves in fall when natives have gone dormant. They have left behind the competitors and enemies that control them in their native lands, so they can take over a woods, creating an impenetrable mass that supports many fewer insects, birds, and other wildlife than native plants.

We’re making progress against these invasives! The Land Conservation Subcommittee, working with Lathrop management, has a plan, a set of priorities, some money, and a contractor. Here is what is happening now: Continue reading Progress Against Invasive Plants

Old Oak Tree Mystery Solved

-Barbara Walvoord

Last week, when I wrote about the old oak tree on the east campus across the field from the vegetable garden, several people asked me if something lived in the tree’s large hole, which quite obviously leads to a hollow in the trunk. I said, “I don’t know.”

Well, Eleanor Johnson’s daughter, who was visiting on Saturday, solved the mystery for us–a porcupine was sitting with its backside half out of the hole, enjoying the sun. When she approached, the porcupine scrambled back into the hole, leaving a few quills behind. Continue reading Old Oak Tree Mystery Solved

Walk to Lathrop’s Old Oak Tree

-Barbara Walvoord

On the east campus, if you stand on the lawn at the end of Cranberry Lane and look across the field obliquely to the left, you will see a magnificent oak tree towering above all the other trees, resplendent in its rust-red leaves, which postpone falling until most other trees are bare.

You can walk to it, thanks to a mowed path arranged by Facilities Director Mike Strycharz. The path (level terrain, but rough underfoot) goes from the far end of the vegetable garden around the outside of the shrubby field. Just about opposite the garden, the path turns right, and you’ll come to the oak tree.

Our tree is a Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), native to the eastern U.S. and Canada, known for its high-quality timber and its Continue reading Walk to Lathrop’s Old Oak Tree

Report to Residents July 30, 2014

Report of the Land Conservation Subcommittee of the Green Committee

July 30, 2014

by Barbara Walvoord, Chair

Committee Members: Adele Dowell, Jim Dowell, Alfred Eipper, Sharon Grace, Chuck Gillies, Lyn Howe, Eleanor Johnson, Gillian Morbey, Diedrick Snoek, and Barbara Walvoord

Since our last report, the committee has moved forward in each of its eight lines of work:

  1. Master plan, finances, infrastucture
  2. Agricultural fields
  3. Removal of invasives
  4. Bushwhacking, mowing
  5. Herbicides, pesticides
  6. Planting natives
  7. Trails
  8. Programming and information

Particularly, watch for these developments:

  • Tomorrow, July 31, the state Biologist and the state Soil Conservation Planner are coming to walk our fields and give us ideas about how best to support wildlife, especially grassland birds like bobolinks and meadowlarks, which are increasingly at risk. Support for grassland birds and other wildlife is one of three alternative uses for our fields that we are researching. The other two alternatives (not mutually exclusive) are organic/sustainable farming, and a possible 5-8-acre solar field on a piece of our land not visible from our homes. A representative from a solar cooperative called Community Solar is coming August 18 at 10 a.m. in the Inn for a very early exploratory discussion. Nothing may come of it, and no commitments will be made without a GREAT DEAL more investigation and discussion with the whole Lathrop community, board, etc.
  • Presentation in August or September by our naturalist consultant Laurie Sanders about the natural history, present status, and future of our land.
  • Development of a native wildflower garden in front of Cranberry House. We’ll be sharing the plan with all of you and inviting you to participate in (or come and watch) a planting day in the fall.
  • We are contacting contractors who can help us remove invasives in our fields, woods, and wetlands that are threatening our native plants and wildlife.
  • We need information from residents about their needs and desires for walking trails.