Imagine traveling back in time to an era on Cape Cod where you followed a worn cartpath or foot trail wandering through woodland and meadow nestled against a kettle pond, watching for the wildlife around you. That singular experience of solitude and scenic beauty is increasingly rare as development continues to encroach on the last wild places of the Cape.
The Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) has an opportunity to preserve approximately 15 acres to help protect the historical feel, scenic splendor, water quality, and wildlife habitat diversity along more than 1,000 feet of shoreline on Cornelius Pond (also known as Eldridge Pond).
Cornelius Pond is called a “coastal plain pond,” and coastal plain ponds represent some of the most vulnerable natural areas of the Northeast. Created by the receding glacier that left massive melting blocks of ice in the coastal meltwater plain of Cape Cod about 18,000 years ago, these special ponds since filled with groundwater and now support a variety of species, including rare plants and animals.
The total project cost to preserve this beautiful landscape and help protect pond water quality is $850,000. An anonymous donor has issued a challenge gift of $425,000, if we can raise the matching funds of $425,000 by Dec. 31, 2018. We invite you to make a land-saving difference by donating today toward the matching fund goal.
Walk leader Don Wilding’s journey brings you to “the earth and outer sea” of Henry Beston’s “The Outermost House.” Beston’s book, a Cape Cod literary classic published 90 years ago, captured the essence of Cape Cod’s “Great Beach” and served as an inspiration for the establishment of the Cape Cod National Seashore. On this walk in the National Seashore overlooking Nauset Marsh and the Great Beach, Wilding, local historian and author, tells the story of how and why Beston, an ambulance driver in World War I, came here, what he experienced during his “year on the beach,” and how “The Outermost House” became a National Literary Landmark before it was swept away by the sea in the Blizzard of ’78.
“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.
As we come to understand the history of a place, driving along a road, or walking a trail becomes a very different experience. We get to see another dimension in a landscape or neighborhood. Sometimes if we are lucky, we find that buried beneath our feet is a fascinating story about someone who stood in this place before us, and we catch a glimpse of the world they inhabited.
It’s rare, however, to have a chance to see the full story—a panorama of how things have changed and lives intertwined in a single place over time. So we are fortunate that among HCT’s purchases is Kendrick Farm in East Harwich, now known as Pleasant Bay Woodlands. It’s a unique piece of land that was held within the same family for more than 250 years. The family patriarch, Edward Kenwrick, bought the first tract in the 1730s from great-grandchildren of Mattaquason, the Monomoyick leader who provided much needed aid to the Pilgrims. Edward gave the land to his son Solomon, an early whaler. And Solomon’s son, the American explorer John Kendrick, was born and grew up here, but he is only part of a larger story.
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