On Wednesday, September 28th, volunteers from the Wequassett Resort joined HCT’s Director of Land Stewardship Connor O’Brien in the field to help remove invasive plant species. The energetic group of fourteen gathered at Pleasant Bay Woodlands and began the morning with a tour of the 49-acre property to learn about the land which was preserved in 2015 by Harwich Conservation Trust.
Originally the land was settled by Native Americans including the Monomoyick tribe who were also the stewards of the nearby Pleasant Bay estuary that provided an abundance of food resources. The tract was sold in the 1730s to the Kendrick family and it became the home base and farm for six generations of Kendricks thereafter. The family homestead went through different additions and ultimately was abandoned with parts of the foundation still visible today. To read about what farm life was like a century ago, click here.
This land is home to many species of wildlife which occupy a variety of habitats including cedar swamp, forest, meadow, and a vernal pool. In the 1880s, a portion of cedar swamp was cleared in order to create a cranberry bog that has long since went fallow and is now grown up into red maple and sweet pepper bush. While teaching about the land’s history, Connor also discussed how the cranberry bogs changed the landscape, the unique features of white cedar swamps, how invasive species alter habitats, and the role of vernal pools.
Upon returning to the meadow after completing one of the trail loops, the group learned about the invasive species they would be removing: Chinese privet, oriental bittersweet, bush honeysuckle, Japanese honeysuckle, porcelain berry, and multiflora rose. They practiced identifying the various plants, then separated into smaller groups wearing gloves and geared with weed wrenches, loppers, and mattocks to tackle different nooks around the meadow’s edge. Thank you to the hard-working and enthusiastic Wequassett staff for your time and energy taking good care of our local conservation lands!
Please enjoy photos of the volunteer day below, captured by HCT Outreach and Administrative Coordinator Halley Steinmetz.