Duxbury Naturalist Rachel Sargent lead a group of Duxbury residents on a walk to discover ecological features of the winter landscape. Rachel has been an educator with the Fairbanks and Montshire Museums, and is a freelance nature writer and illustrator.
The DLT is hosting a Brook Walk along Ridley Brook on July 16 at 11:00 AM. Meet at the Ridley Brook swimming hole, one mile south of North Duxbury on Camel’s Hump Rd.
A Walk Up a Brook by Rachel Sargent
It’s a rainy day in May and I’m walking up Ridley Brook, checking under rocks. Medium-sized flat rocks are best: plenty of surface area but not too heavy to lift. Each rock, with its own character, situated in its unique spot on the bank, represents a different micro-habitat, a unique home to whatever might be underneath.
Today the Northern Two-lined Salamander is out in force. Nearly one rock in four has one of these quick, skinny salamanders hiding underneath. With their bright golden backs outlined by two dark streaks extending down their sides from eye to tail, they aren’t hard to spot. When I turn over the roof of their home they often take off in a sinuous golden streak.
Several other rocks yield small, black millipedes. These millipedes can’t be more than 3/4 of an inch long and they curl into a compact spiral as soon as I disturb them. Millipedes might not seem like an exciting find, but they are key players in maintaining forest ecosystem health. As one of the primary consumers of leaf and wood litter, they recycle plant material back into the forest.
Another rock reveals a Sow bug. Sow bugs are not bugs at all, but crustaceans, and are more closely related to lobsters and shrimp than to the beetles sharing their rock refuge. Like millipedes, Sow Bugs eat decaying plant matter, recycling it back into the ecosystem.
If you’re interested in finding creatures like these yourself, join me and the Duxbury Land Trust on July 16 at 11:00 for a summer brook walk at the Ridley Brook swimming hole. Bring the whole family. Collecting jars and magnifiers will be provided!
The Duxbury Land Trust Annual Meeting will be held on Wednesday April 27, 2016 at 6:30 PM at the Crossett Brook Middle School Library.
There will be a brief summary of the Duxbury Land Trust’s activities for the year, followed by a special presentation:
Restoring the American Chestnut
Kendra Collins, Science Coordinator for the American Chestnut Foundation, will tell the story of the work by the Foundation to restore the American Chestnut to eastern woodlands for the benefit of our environment, our wildlife, and our society.
On March 30, the 2085-acre Dowsville Headquarters property was transferred to the State of Vermont as an addition to the Camel’s Hump State Park. This acquisition was achieved by The Trust for Public Land and made possible by a grant from the Federal Forest Legacy program. Several foundations, organizations, and individuals contributed to this accomplishment. The Duxbury Land Trust (DLT) was instrumental in providing some consultation and funding to The Trust for Public Land during the project.
The Dowsville Headwaters property was identified as a significant Duxbury resource by the Duxbury Land Trust as far back as 1994. The group’s efforts included reaching out to the State of Vermont, the Vermont congressional delegation, and state and national conservation organizations. However, it was soon realized that such an extensive endeavor was not feasible for the DLT to undertake. It wasn’t until The Trust for Public Land spearheaded this incredible project, that DLT’s dream could be realized, twenty-two years later. The DLT applauds The Trust for Public Land’s success in conserving this spectacular property for the benefit of all Duxbury residents now and far into the future.
The property was purchased by a timber company in the mid-1990s and extensively logged. The majority of the land was eventually sold to Forecastle Timber. Since 1995, the Duxbury Land Trust (DLT) has been actively seeking assistance to conserve the Ward Hill/Dowsville Basin land. Among the actions taken in the late 1990s was gauging the support of townspeople and contacting state and federal officials and non-profit conservation organizations, including: the Vermont Land Trust, Conservation Foundation, and The Trust for Public Land. Because of the poor condition of the land after the heavy timber harvest, the State was not interested in acquiring the property at that time. However, the DLT never lost its interest and concern about the future of the Ward Hill/Dowsville Basin land and is a partner in its protection today.