Out & About: Mascoma Watershed Conservation Council Leads ‘Walkabouts’

  • A veery nest at the Bear Pond Natural Area in Canaan, N.H. (Leonard Reitsma photograph)

  • A boardwalk next to a beaver dam at the Bear Pond Natural Area in Canaan, N.H. (Leonard Reitsma photograph)

  • A wood turtle at the Bear Pond Natural Area in Canaan, N.H. (Leonard Reitsma photograph)

Valley News Calendar Editor 
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Canaan — The Bear Pond Natural Area is home to 28 migrant and eight resident bird species.

Attendees at the monthly Watershed Walkabout — the next is set for 2-4 p.m. on Saturday — may see about 18 of them during a hike through the area led by Leonard Reitsma, an ornithologist and professor at Plymouth State University.

The more than 900 acres of diverse land includes deciduous and coniferous trees, wetlands, standing water and a quaking bog and borders the Mascoma State Forest, Canaan Town Forest and Bird-in-Hand Farm.

“All of these features combined give the property significant ecological value and also result in many ecosystem services including flood abatement and water purification,” Reitsma said in an email. “Because the property will not have timber or minerals harvested in perpetuity, the ecosystem will in time become an old-growth complex of forests that will have added value in the context of surrounding working forests with continued forestry.”

Volunteers with the Mascoma Watershed Conservation Council are the stewards of Bear Bond and the Arzdorf tract along Little Goose Pond, said Alice Schori, a member of the council, in an email. The nonprofit organization’s goals are conservation within the watershed and to educate the public about it.

“The Watershed Walkabouts are directly related to those goals, giving people a chance to come out and explore some interesting places within the watershed and discuss natural history, conservation issues, what we can observe about past land use history, etc.,” Schori said. “We aim to have fun, always with an interesting bunch of people, and we hope some of them will be inspired to support conservation efforts in the Upper Valley.”

The organization is also looking for volunteers to assist with trail maintenance, invasive species removal and conservation projects.

To get there, go north on Switch Road from Route 4 and look for a sign that reads “Walkabout Today.” The trails are relatively easy, but be prepared for mud. Bug repellent is recommended. Heavy rain cancels walkabout. For more information, email alice.b.schori@gmail.com.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.