HCT Awarded State Grant.
Cornelius Pond Woodlands!
The 15-acre Cornelius Pond Woodlands Project is a shining example of how partnership makes a difference for our Cape Cod quality of life. Many HCT donors including individuals, couples, families, foundations, and businesses contributed funds to this grassroots effort to preserve this priority watershed land that protects pond health and drinking water quality as well as wildlife habitat. Last May, Town Meeting voters also unanimously approved $200,000 in Town Community Preservation Act funds to support the purchase. And it’s a great way to start off the New Year with the State’s January 17th announcement of a Conservation Partnership grant that completes the $850,000 fundraising campaign. HCT will work with the State and Town to complete the grant compliance requirements by June 30th and then plan a trail opening by the fall of 2019 or spring 2020. Thank you one and all for saving this special corner of Cape Cod perched atop Cornelius Pond.
Local Students Explore
Robert F. Smith
Cold Brook Preserve
“We survived!” one fifth grader exclaimed as she jumped up and down. Her class at Monomoy Regional Middle School was playing a game about the life cycle of the American eel, taught by Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary School Programs Coordinator Spring Beckhorn with curriculum in part created by 30-year veteran science teacher Valerie Bell. The students from Harwich and Chatham were learning about the Robert F. Smith Cold Brook Preserve owned by Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) in the heart of Harwich Port. HCT and Wellfleet Audubon are partnering to connect Monomoy students to local conservation land, water, and wildlife, thereby educating future generations about the importance of being sensitive stewards of Cape Cod’s natural heritage.
“It’s a magic place,” says Sophie Eldredge about Sophie’s Corner. “When we were little we had a garden down there. It’s a special feeling there. It’s beautiful; it’s quiet. It’s a corner nook in the middle of the woods. You can’t see any houses around. It’s peaceful.”
When her parents bought the land in the 1980s, they named pieces for their three children. Her mother Caroline writes that the piece so named, “looked like Sophie, beautiful, wild and windswept.”
Walking to a meadow, you can glimpse Hinckleys Pond through the trees. Sophie’s father Everett Eldredge points to where a snapping turtle had dug a nest. It’s been scavenged, the eggs have dried out, becoming bone-like shards. “There was a cellar hole, a structure here,” he says. Clearly, the land holds a story for both people and wildlife meandering its contours over time.
Twenty years back, Eldredge sold his neighbor Jacob Brown five acres of the land adjacent to Sophie’s Corner.
Vision, luck, persistence, compassion, patience, flexibility, fate—just some of the elements that form the origin of the more than 80 rolling acres of forest and wetland that beckon within the Island Pond Conservation Lands. This conservation assemblage with walking trails traversing old cartpaths bordered by bicycle trails near the Town Center has been assembled over 20 years by a partnership among Town Meeting voters, HCT, and landowners with the courage and will to make a difference for land, water, and wildlife.
It all started 30 years ago, when a truck went into a ditch in the snow in the snow forcing G. Rockwood Clark and land owner George Canham to get to know each other better while they walked for help. Rocky was looking for Harwich land to buy. Canham, a sheep farmer, then in his 80s, wanted to sell his acres to people he liked and who would appreciate the land, so he gave Rocky and his then wife Cynthia a deal.
The Wilsons bring owls that are found locally including great-horned owl with golden irises, red morph screech owl and the soda can-sized saw-whet owl. They also showcase owls from around the globe, including the Eurasian eagle owl (largest owl species in the world) and the South American spectacled owl. The barred owl with its dark charcoal-colored eyes and the striking snowy owl will also make an appearance. – See more at: http://harwichconservationtrust.org/eyes-on-owls/#sthash.l69lwALO.dpuf