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Ramble video unveiled

Jess and Haley started their Americorps service term last week, and are getting out to learn more about the land and people who make up the East Quabbin region.

Check out their promotional video about the Station Loop Ramble, coming up on Sunday, October 14th. Don’t miss the fun!

 

Nearly Ready!

garageThe garage construction is nearly complete! The Stewardship team members are cheering loudly as we are close to moving our tools and equipment into their new home. Next steps include electrical, garage doors and an asphalt apron at the doors.
barway startToday we started the process of creating a barway, access point from Ridge Road, at the garage spot. Once finished, this will provide a better way to get into our parking spaces, and when trailers are needed at the garage.
Many thanks to Don, Tom, Becky, Harrison, Jess and Cynthia for lifting and moving rocks! And much appreciation to the faculty and students at Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School for their hardwork over the past 10 months getting the garage structure built!dumping rocks

David and Deb 'manning' the food tasting booth.

David and Deb ‘manning’ the food tasting booth.

This past Saturday the Petersham Common was buzzing with activity as part of Old Home Day.  The East Quabbin Land Trust, with many volunteers and participating farms, sponsored a free, local food tasting. Bringing some of the great local foods out of the Country Store building and into our hands.

Handmade potato chips!

Handmade potato chips!

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Deb Bachrach and Mariann DiBarbieri for all their help organizing, menu selection, and cooking. Another round of Thank You’s goes to all the farms that donated food, including: Landworks Farm, Pease Orchard, Rice’s Roots Farm, Robinson’s Farm, Rockingstone Farm, Rose 32 Bread, Ruby Ranch Beef, SideHill Farm, Walker Farm at Whortleberry Hill, and Whitesfield Farm.

Fresh peach and blueberry cobbler!

Fresh peach and blueberry cobbler!

A happy taster, checking out all eight different options!

A happy taster, checking out all eight different options!

Lobstah-feast

Once a year, we get together with our volunteers. It’s a fun way to thank them for all their efforts on behalf of the East Quabbin Land Trust, and to meet others also committed to Conserving the Land and Preserving Our Heritage. This year we enjoyed fresh Maine lobsters and potluck salads and desserts at Wendemuth Meadow. The lower level of the barn is the perfect location to be out of the rain and still enjoy one of our beautiful properties.

We’re already thinking about next year! Please volunteer with EQLT and join us for another special evening with friends from throughout the region.

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Six families and other visitors enjoyed spending time Saturday at the Coxhall Kitchen Garden, on Simpson Road in Hardwick. The weather Saturday afternoon and evening was perfect for setting up tents, singing songs, playing, walking the trails and roasting marshmallows over the fire. It’s impressive to be inside such a magnificent stone wall structure that was build in 1774, and still standing! People had so much fun together and exploring that next year we’ll have camping available both Friday and Saturday nights. Maybe you’ll join us?

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Ken Carlson explaining all the pieces of gear that he takes into the woods when he goes hunting and fishing.

Ken Carlson explaining all the pieces of gear that he takes into the woods when he goes hunting and fishing.

On Saturday, June 30th the East Quabbin Land Trust hosted a Wheel-A-Thon at its section of the Mass Central Rail Trail in New Braintree and Hardwick. The rail trail is flat with a firm surface, giving everyone a chance to get out into nature. “Our goal is to introduce the rail trail to people who need wheels to get around, whether that’s people who use wheelchairs or families pushing youngsters in strollers. This is a safe and interesting trail to enjoy,” said Mark Mattson, the originator of the Wheel-A-Thon event.

20180630_101330webThe heat and humidity didn’t deter folks from coming out to explore the rail trail with friends and familiy, learning about the area in the process. Stations along the trail included, 1) Ken Carlson, sharing the tools and tips he uses when going out in the woods in his wheelchair, 2) Brad Blodgett, recounting the railroad history and fun facts about the area, 3) Ross Hubacz, warming people up as they cored a nearby tree and read the rings, and 4) Dick Reavey, showing his fly-fishing ties and equipment at the edge of the Ware River.

20180630_103914webVisitors could also read a story about Wood Ducks (by Hope I. Marston and Maria M. Brown) as they made their way along the trail. We’ve seen wood ducks along the Ware River and installed nest boxes to support breeding pairs.

20180630_123731webMany thanks to former State Senator Stephen Brewer for taking visitors on wagon-rides. Driving through a tree-lined trail, crossing the historic pony truss bridge and seeing things from a new height is a great treat! Also, thanks to all the volunteers that made the Wheel-A-Thon possible, with an extensive appreciation for the planning committee members – Ken Carlson, Tom Clough, Ashley Dziejma, Cynthia Henshaw, Mark Mattson and Dick Reavey.

Go out for a roll or walk! The main parking area is at the location of the former New Braintree train station, on Depot Road – the short cut-off road between Hardwick Road and West Road in New Braintree. GPS 1700 Hardwick Road to get to the access point. Parking at either end of the 3-mile rail trail is also available at the end of Maple Street in Wheelwright or just below the active railroad line on Creamery Road.

Lynda V. Mapes reading from her book, Witness Tree, with a photo of John O'Keefe taking data for his phenology study that has documented changes in when trees leaf out in spring and drop their leaves in fall.

Lynda V. Mapes reading from her book, Witness Tree, with a photo of John O’Keefe taking data for his phenology study that has documented changes in when trees leaf out in spring and drop their leaves in fall over the past 25 years.

Lynda V. Mapes spoke during our Annual Membership Meeting and shared her book Witness Tree. The book uses a century-old red oak to tell the story of our changing climate.

As a Bullard Fellow at the Harvard Forest, Lynda got to dive in deeply with “her” witness tree, the network of scientists and community members in Petersham, and the old technology used in new ways that is informing the science of how the trees in the woods are reacting to a climate with more CO2, the vital element for photosynthesis.

20180609_111454webIn fact, one of the things learned is that red oaks are among the plant species growing at a faster rate and being more efficient in their growth. Leaf-out in spring averages five-days earlier than just 25 years ago. With a longer growing season and more CO2 in the air, red oaks don’t need to open their stomatas as wide or as long as before. Meaning that they don’t lose as much water, and are more efficient in photosynthesis. The inter-related dynamics is really complex. Scientists are  hard at work to better understand these changes that are having a dramatic impact on the natural world, and will influence human society too.

Phil Warbasse, a member of the Friends of the Stone Church in Gilbertville, shared the progress in the repairs and fundraising efforts to restore the building and tower.

Phil Warbasse, a member of the Friends of the Stone Church in Gilbertville, shared the progress in the repairs and fundraising efforts to restore the building and tower.

The meeting was held at the Big Stone Church in Gilbertville. Thank you to The Friends of the Stone Church for letting us enjoy the wonderful space.

Standing at the old landing, Roger used the map to orient the group to the different treatment areas.

Standing at the old landing, Roger used the map to orient the group to the different treatment areas.

Our forester, Roger Plourde, lead a group of neighbors and friends for a walk at Henry’s Grove in anticipation of a timber harvest over the 2018-19 winter. The overarching goal is to improve the quality and health of the trees growing on the 94-acre property that runs from Lombard Road down to the East Branch of the Ware River.

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Roger discussing the existing young trees and how this coming harvest will allow more trees to get started once completed.

Some parts of the property have strong regeneration with lots of young trees growing in dense areas. Those trees got their start when the last timber harvest happened and more sunlight reached the soil. Areas with dense growth of young trees will be avoided this time, opening up the canopy in other spots to create favorable conditions for more young trees to get their start.

There are also three areas that will won’t be cut. These reserve areas are designated because of unique landforms, close proximity to the Ware River or a beautiful dense hemlock stand that adds to the diversity of the woods.

After the cutting is completed, the East Quabbin Land Trust is planning to create a walking trail loop and encourage people to get out onto the property, visit the banks of the Ware River and view some of the unique features at Henry’s

The existing trail runs through a stand of 15-20 foot tall white pines that started after the last harvest. This time, a woods road will avoid this area to not disturb the young trees.

The existing trail runs through a stand of 15-20 foot tall white pines that started after the last harvest. This time, a woods road will avoid this area to not disturb the young trees.

Grove.

Breeding birds monitored

Ann, John and Jeff watching for birds at Wendemuth Meadow

Ann, John and Jeff watching for birds at Wendemuth Meadow

Thanks to Jeff, Ann, John and Cynthia, we have a better handle on what birds are using Wendemuth Meadow and Mandell Hill during this breeding season. Early Sunday morning, we convened at Wendemuth and walked the longer loop trail that runs up and around the hill. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, though a bit windy.

Looking towards the hill at Wendemuth and the trail is beautifully maintained by Harrison. During bobolink breeding season all visitors, including dogs, need to stay on the mowed trails.

Looking towards the hill at Wendemuth and the trail is beautifully maintained by Harrison. During bobolink breeding season all visitors, including dogs, need to stay on the mowed trails.

On the way we made four stops for five minutes each to watch and listen for birds. We focused on the birds in the fields, but could also hear others in the woods behind us at various spots. In total we saw nine bobolink males and one female. Plus lots of Red-winged blackbirds, Common yellow-throat, Song sparrow, House sparrow, Tree swallow, Gold finch, Great blue heron, Chimney swift, Mourning dove, Barn swallow, Red-tailed hawk, Starling, Sharp-shinned haw, Grackle, Tufted titmouse, House wren, Crow and five Canada Goose flying overhead.

Ann and Jeff stopping to look at birds on our way to the Chris Ellison Memorial Birding Platform.

Ann and Jeff stopping to look at birds on our way to the Chris Ellison Memorial Birding Platform.

At Mandell Hill we monitored the birds from the Chris Ellison Memorial Birding Platform. Here the male bobolinks were doing a lot of flying around, not settling or diving into the tall grass. We are speculating that they must still be looking for mates to be exhibiting that kind of behavior at this time of year. We saw seven male bobolinks. Other birds included: Vireo, Tree swallow, Red-winged blackbird, Starling, Mourning dove, American bluebird, Turkey vulture, American kestrel, Flicker, Kingbird, Mocking bird, Red-tailed hawk, Meadowlark, Yellow warbler, American robin, Black-billed cuckoo, Barn swallow, Song sparrow, Rose-breasted grosbeak, Great blue heron and Red-shouldered hawk.

It was a wonderful, relaxing morning to be out in the East Quabbin region enjoying nature!

Ken Levine and others as we started on our trip from Barre Plains.

Ken and others as we started on our trip from Barre Plains.

We had a great trip down the Ware River today! Even with eight boats we saw and heard lots of birds, like cedar waxwings, red-winged black birds, and some sort of sandpiper, among others. Inadvertently we chased a Great Blue Heron downstream for a ways, we got to see a Great Horned Owl roosting at the edge of the river. That’s one BIG owl.

Chris Komenda canoeing down the Ware River.

Chris canoeing down the Ware River.

The water was a bit low, but we managed to get over the few rocky spots. Well worth the trip and took a little over three hours. Thanks to Don Rich, who helped us ferry cars to the take out spot in the morning, so we were all set once we reached Creamery Road in Hardwick.

Anne at the portage around the Wheelwright dam.

Anne at the portage around the Wheelwright dam.

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