Greenwood Conservancy

By Carol at 10:30 pm on Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Our group met at the junction of highways 205 and 80, to make the short journey west to the Greenwood Conservancy, established by the Peterson family of Cooperstown, NY. As an ADK group, we had special permission to hike on the 1149 acre property, where two wetlands have been restored, and where carefully controlled bow harvesting of deer has allowed the forest understory to be renewed.

Our walk began at the old farm house, where we followed a road along a meadow, and into the forest. We met Dr. Peterson along the way. He explained some of the wetland restoration efforts, creating habitat for great blue herons, wood ducks and other waterfowl. He mentioned some of the plants that are returning to the area, and some of the diseases that pose a danger for trees like the ash and the beech. Dr. Peterson and his staff were maintaining the meadow today, creating habitat for butterlies, cottontails and other creatures.

meadow

Along the meadow.

As we entered the forest, the lush understory was remarkable. We were able to observe a large variety of wildflowers including jack-in-the-pulpit, star flowers, false solomon’s seal, dwarf ginseng, false hellebore, Canada mayflower, celandine. Mosses and ferns were abundant and varied.

dwarf ginseng

Dwarf ginseng.

In the wet areas we saw extensive beaver dams, and heard the calls of green frogs among the lily pads. As the group ate lunch on a bridge, a pair of great blue herons circled over the water. In front of us were two dead trees, each supporting two heron nests.

beaver den

Beaver den.

knawed stump

Stump, recently created by a beaver.

log felled by beaver

Beavers devoured all of the bark from this tree that fell from the stump above.

large beaver dam

Large beaver dam.

heron nests in dead tree

Two heron nests in a dead tree.

lily pond

Lily pond.

mushroom tree

Mushroom tree.

place for lunch

Bridge where our group had lunch.

The hike was a little longer than usual, over less distinct trails. Our leaders had well researched the area prior to our arrival, guided us to some lovely remote spots, and out again safely.

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