Come along on an armchair tour as we explore the wilder side of Hanover through the Conservancy’s outdoor trips program.
DARTMOUTH ORGANIC FARM - 11/3/13 – A group of ten explored the fertile floodplain farmland, barn, and a broad river terrace along the Connecticut with Dartmouth Biological Sciences Professor and Hanover Conservancy board member Tom Jack and Dartmouth Geography Professor Laura Conkey. We discussed floodplain geology and the history of the farm, and walked up the old river terrace to view the esker. Several took a side trip into a forested wetland to see a stand of black ash.
A WALK BACK IN TIME: The Secrets of Cellar Holes – 10/20/13 – We had an enthusiastic group of 53 trekkers for our program on history and land use that began with an indoor presentation by Adair Mulligan at Trumbull Hall. After enjoying wonderful treats, we carpooled to explore cellar holes on the Trescott Company lands of the community’s drinking water supply watershed. Under brilliant late-October skies, we enjoyed an easy walk inside the now-gated property up Knapp Road, (now Class VI) past the reservoir to “the Four Corners” – the site of a one-room schoolhouse and the prosperous Mason farm. Thanks to our co-sponsors, the Etna Library, Hanover Historical Society & NH Humanities Council, and to the Trescott Company (composed of the Town and Dartmouth College) for permission to visit the Trescott lands.
CONNECTICUT RIVER CLEAN-UP -10/5/13 – We were treated to a beautiful paddle up a river of glass reflecting fall colors as we patrolled the Connecticut River shoreline for the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s annual Source to Sea clean-up. We paddled about a mile upstream to explore the mouth of Slade Brook, before heading back to collect trash we had spotted along the way. The haul included parts of old docks, damaged flotation barrels, iron pipes, a full bag of discarded plastic bottles, and one expired magnolia warbler we found floating.
RESTORATION CELEBRATION AT BALCH HILL – 9/29/13 – Two dozen Balch Hill afficionadoes turned out for a tour with our forester to learn about our project to improve wildlife habitat and restore the hill’s historic agricultural landscape. The project benefited from the support and help of Balch Hill friends and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Forester Ben Hudson & Gail McPeek led the group.
ANNUAL HAWK WATCH AT BALCH HILL SUMMIT – 9/21/13 – A congenial group of 25 gathered on the summit to usher the hawks on their migration south and enjoyed the view. It was a beautiful day, although the south wind didn’t encourage too many birds to head in our direction. Nevertheless, we had a good look at a peregrine falcon, and also saw a broadwing, sharp-shinned hawk, and osprey. Thanks to leaders David Merker & Gail McPeek for guiding an enjoyable trip.
GEOLOGY OF THE SOUTH ESKER - 6/16/2013 – Twenty-five people of all ages hiked back in time with us through a towering riverside forest at the South Esker. Beautiful trails along the Connecticut River took us past the esker left when a mile-thick glacier moved over Hanover followed by an icy lake. The trip was ably led by Dartmouth Earth Sciences Professor and Hanover Conservancy Board member Carl Renshaw. Carl will share his maps and other information on this site at a later date.
MOTHER’S DAY WILDFLOWER WALK -5/12/13 – Fifteen engaged and knowledgeable walkers discovered trillium, jack in the pulpit, and other spring wildflowers, club-mosses, and unfurling ferns on the wild McKinley Tract in northeast Hanover. Thanks to our leader, botanist Alice Schori.
KITE DAY AT BALCH HILL -5/11/13 – Despite threatening skies, several families brought their kites and kids for a colorful afternoon of kite-flying in the breezes of Balch Hill. One kite is on its way to Vermont, but the rest survived. All seemed to enjoy the expanded views, thanks to the Balch Hill Stewardship Committee’s work.
VERNAL POOLS AT GREENSBORO RIDGE – 5/5/13 – Who’s stirring in those mysterious woodland waters in spring? Greensboro Ridge Natural Area has plenty of wildlife and some like it wet. Led by Dartmouth Biology Professor Mark McPeek, a group of about 20 visited several vernal pools on this 113-acre conserved property and found that they were “hopping” with wood frog and salamander eggs, among other amphibians.
CONNECTICUT RIVER WATERFOWL & SPRING MIGRANTS – 4/20/13 – Leaders Art Mudge & George Clark steered 21 participants upriver to find a good variety of waterfowl and other spring migrants – 46 species in all! – on this trip co-sponsored by the Mascoma Chapter of NH Audubon, the Hanover Conservancy, and Upper Valley Land Trust. Beginning at Wilson’s Landing, they made several stops on the NH side, ending at Grant Brook in Lyme. Among highlights were extended soaring by a Double-crested Cormorant, good views of an adult Bald Eagle, a Spotted Sandpiper in its nice-looking spring garb, several Ruby-crowned Kinglets singing loudly, an even louder Louisiana Waterthrush singing at Grant Brook, and a Field Sparrow at Grant Brook. Non-avian finds included a spotted salamander and a red eft.
WORKING THE WOODS ON THE WATER COMPANY LANDS ~ 3/2/13 – Thirty of the curious joined us for a special members-only trip behind the fence guarding Hanover’s public water supply to learn how foresters guide tree growth and protect water quality on these sensitive lands. Foresters John O’Brien and Jeff Smith explained how foresters guide tree growth and protect water quality on these sensitive lands. After a good look at 100-year-old maps of the property, we visited majestic four-foot-thick white pines and red oaks on the western side of this major land holding, including two trees where generations of porcupines have made their homes.
Jeff Smith demonstrated the tools a forester uses in evaluating a stand of trees, and woodsman Bernie Corrette displayed his skill with a scaler and chainsaw in working up a pile of recently harvested red pines. A focus of the morning’s trip was understanding how the watershed’s forests are being guided to a more natural, diversified community and away from the plantation-style, even-aged forest of the past. The foresters are reluctantly returning to plantations in places where invasive glossy buckthorn is threatening the quality of future forests here. The visit ended with a visit to “the four corners” – where the old Wolfeboro and Knapp Roads crossed at a former settlement – to see the site of the one-room schoolhouse and the Mason Farm’s cellarholes, now criss-crossed with turkey tracks. Many thanks to foresters John O’Brien and Jeff Smith and to the Trescott Water Company board for allowing us to make this special trip.
View a slide show of the morning’s discoveries by Jim Block.
TUNIS BROOK WILDLIFE IN WINTER ~ 2/16/13 – Twenty-six eager trackers trekked into the Tunis Brook Mill Lot by snowshoe to find signs of wildlife around this historic spot in the wild northeast corner of Hanover. This was a real adventure with Alcott Smith, who is well-known for his energetic and in-depth interpretation of wildlife sign in the woods. We began at Goose Pond Road at the junction with Tunis Road (Class VI), 4.5 miles from Route 10. After a short detour on the new bicycle trail on the Town Forest, we headed south up Tunis Road to the site of an old cellar hole (whose location does not appear on either the 1855 or 1892 map of Hanover). After discovering signs of recent ruffed grouse, snowshoe hare, and moose activity, we struck off into the Tunis Brook watershed, finding a prime porcupine den and much more before reaching our Tunis Brook Mill Lot. Photo album of the day’s adventure.
Snowshoe Hike to DOC Cabin ~ 2/9/13 – Bravely striking out during the tail end of the “Blizzard of 2013,” Nancy Collier and Linde McNamara led an expedition to explore trails on the west slopes of Moose Mountain. After hiking a mile in to Dartmouth’s Class of ’66 Cabin, tucked away in the woods, the group enjoyed a tour and hot chocolate at the cabin. Read an entertaining account of the building of the cabin, (excerpted from the 2009 edition of D.O.C’s Woodsmoke) posted here with permission of the author. Click here for aerial photo with our route indicated.
Summit Lord’s Hill ~ 2/2/2013 – Lise Richardson led an intrepid group of 8 as we explored the rolling fields and forests of the Richardson farm and adjoining portions of Lord’s Hill. A light dusting of snow covered the ground. Superlative views of Mt. Ascutney and dramatic stone walls near the summit were an especial treat. It was a privilege to roam on private lands and trails in this wild part of Hanover encircled by Dogford Road.
Nordic Ski at Morton Farm ~ 1/26/13 – A dozen skiers enjoyed a sparkling winter morning exploring the fields and woods of the Morton Farm with Director Sally Batton and the Conservancy’s Adair Mulligan and Courtney Dragiff. The Morton Farm, home of the Dartmouth Riding Center, is located on Laramie Road in Etna. The trails wind through nearly 200 acres of woods & open fields and offer spectacular views of Mt. Ascutney. The College welcomes the public (without dogs) on the property for hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing.
Moonlight Snowshoe & Bonfire ~ 1/19/13 –Led by Hugh Mellert, 22 eager snowshoers prowled the Slade Brook watershed by the light of a shy moon, then gathered around a bonfire for hot cocoa and more. We had a great outing and even some moonshine through the hazy clouds once we got to the top. Hugh is a great leader with great stories to share and the hot dogs, hot chocolate and bonfire at the end are a big hit. A number of participants appreciated borrowing from our supply of snowshoes and poles.
Find the Town Forest Bike & Hike – 10/27/12 – We had a beautiful afternoon exploring Hanover’s remote northeast corner on foot and mountain bike. Our group of eight, led by Nancy Collier & Kevin O’Leary, rode the Class VI Tunis Road and hiked the bike trails currently being built in the Town Forest by the Upper Valley Mountain Bike Association. People really enjoyed the cellar hole at the Tunis Brook crossing and the stone culvert that the brook flows through. The group decided to ride out Wolfeboro Rd and Goose Pond Rd to make a loop back to the cars. We then hiked the mountain bike trail up about 3/4 mile. Kevin gave a good description of their work and plans. Volunteers have laid out these trails under the supervision of the Hanover Conservation Commission; the trails are partially built and while they’re not yet ready for riding, they make great hiking. Photographer Jim Block came along for the ride; here’s a link to his photos. Download a map of the new bike trail and conserved lands in NE Hanover.
Tour of Trescott Water Company Lands - 10/20/12 – On a gorgeous fall afternoon, 30 enthusiastic trekkers toured a fascinating part of Hanover hidden behind the fence protecting the town’s water supply, on a special members-only excursion. Foresters John O’Brien and Jeffrey Smith explained the challenges of managing this critical land and showed us the historic site of the town poor farm, spectacular views of Mt. Ascutney, and rare old growth forest protected in one of several “legacy” sites on the property. The land is owned by the Trescott Water Company, of which the Town of Hanover and Dartmouth College own equal shares. View a slide show of our trip. Photographer Jim Block was along, and has shared his beautiful photos.
Insider’s View from Lord’s Hill – 10/14/12 – Lise Richardson led a stimulating walking tour of private lands on and around Lord’s Hill just west of Hanover Center, including parts of the historic Nutt Farm. A group of six enjoyed the lovely changes of forest types on the way to the 1500-foot summit and its beautiful views, despite the light mist.
Hike Historic Cory Road – 10/6/12 – Amid the fall foliage, leaders Gail McPeek and Hugh Mellert led an enthusiastic group of 14 on exploration of an early town road (now Class VI), the cellar hole of an early farmstead, and a rare historic stone bridge with neighbors who know Hanover Center history. Thanks to our co-sponsors, the Hanover Historical Society.
Secrets of Greensboro Ridge – 9/29/12 – Despite the rain, a small but adventurous group headed off-trail to visit hidden grottoes and other mysteries of the Greensboro Ridge Natural Area that offer unusual habitat for the preserve’s wildlife. Then we hiked down the new Greensboro Highlands Trail for the insiders’ story of how the trail was built and the special natural features it reveals.
Annual Hawk Watch at Balch Hill Summit – 9/22/12 – Migrating raptors were few and far between, but beautiful views, blue skies and great conversation about birds and hawk migration made for a wonderful outing. Twenty-one people joined leaders David Merker and Gail McPeek, along with one porcupine which spent 15 minutes grazing on milkweed in the meadow. We saw the following winging their way south: American Kestrel (1), Sharp-shinned Hawk (1), Broad-winged Hawk (1), Osprey (2), Turkey Vulture (6), plus crows, blue jays and flickers on the move and many monarch butterflies.
Back in Time on Tunis Brook ~ 6/10/12 – Over 40 people joined the Hanover Conservancy and Hanover Historical Society on a gorgeous day to explore Hanover’s history in the remote northeast corner of town, with a look at how natural resources – woods and waters – shaped human history here.We began with a visit to the Tunis Schoolhouse, a lovingly restored 1822 one-room school. Owner Barbara Fildes shared the history of the area and her award-winning efforts to restore the building. We then visited two early burying grounds, the Tunis and Goose Pond cemeteries. The afternoon ended with a hike to the beautiful forest sheltering the site of an early sawmill on tiny Tunis Brook, protected by the Hanover Conservancy.
Landscaping for Wildlife ~ 5/31 – Jim Kennedy, NH Coverts Cooperator and Wetland Scientist gave a well-illustrated program on landscaping with native plants to benefit wildlife to a group of 14 at the Etna Library. Several in the group had not previously visited the historic library, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We then headed out under blue skies for a gentle to moderate walk up through the Hayes Farm Park to the new Nan & Allen King Bird Sanctuaryto tour blooming wildlife plantings and enjoy views over the Mink Brook valley of Etna, led by Executive Director Adair Mulligan.
Mother’s Day Wildflower Walk ~ 5/13/2012~ Leaders Alice Schori and Gail McPeek led us on another remarkable botanical meander on the Orange Trail on Moose Mountain. We observed: Goldthread, Wild Strawberry, Cinquefoil, Partridgeberry, Clintonia, Canada Mayflower, Red Trillium, Trout Lily, Violets (white, two varieties of purple), Foamflower, Skunk Currant, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Spring Beauty, Wild Oats, Solomon’s-Seal, False Solomon’s Seal, False Hellebore (Indian Poke), Starflower, Wild Lettuce (various), Bloodroot, Sweet Cicely, Golden Alexanders, Baneberry, Bedstraw, Avens ?, Solidago spp., Aster spp., Lowbush blueberry, Hobblebush, Lycopodiums, ferns, and club mosses.
Saturday Bird Trip – Trescott Saddle to Berrill Farms ~ 5/26/2012- David Merker and Gail McPeek led a walk from Trescott Rd (AT parking area) south on the AT to the Hudson Farm fields behind Berrill Farms on Greensboro Road and then north to Trescott Road looping back to Old Highway 38. It was a great morning for Bobolinks and Savannah sparrows, indigo buntings and 37 other species.
Birds seen: Wild Turkey, Mourning Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Great crested Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood Pewee, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Winter Wren, Gray Catbird, American Robin, Wood Thrush, Veery, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, Blue-headed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Northern Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Bobolink, Brown-headed Cowbird, Indigo Bunting, American Goldfinch, Savannah Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow. Also a probably Broad-winged Hawk .
Saturday Bird Trip – Mink Brook Nature Preserve ~ 4/28/2012- Despite a very chilly morning (with even a few snow flakes) our birding group, led by George Clark, recorded 26 species (list below). When the sun did finally shine through we witnessed the immediate onset of song by birds that were silent beforehand. We had nice views of Brown Creepers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Blue-headed Vireo. A pair of White-breasted Nuthatches nesting in a box along Mink Brook was a treat. We hoped to spot the black bear female and her 3 cubs, but no luck.
Birds seen: Canada Goose, Mallard (several pairs), Wood Duck (several pairs), Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Hairy or Downy Woodpecker, American Crow, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-headed Vireo, American Robin, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow.
Spring Migrants Along the Connecticut River ~ 4/21/21 - Under remarkably bright skies this morning, 21 birders participated in a walk cosponsored by Mascoma Chapter of New Hampshire Audubon, Hanover Conservancy, and the Upper Valley Land Trust. Starting from the parking lot of the Dartmouth Printing Company in Hanover, NH, we went to Wilson’s Landing in Hanover and then north along River Road with stops in Hanover and Lyme until we reached Grant Brook where we made a loop walk through the preserve.
Among 35 species found, presumed relatively recent arrivals included a Broad-winged Hawk by Grant Brook, a singing House Wren investigating potential nest boxes along River Road, at least 2 singing Hermit Thrushes, several singing Yellow-rumped Warblers, at least 5 singing Louisiana Waterthrushes, and a number of Chipping Sparrows, at least some of which were also singing.
Other species included Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Hooded Merganser, Ruffed Grouse, Mourning Dove, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Pine Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch.
Special thanks to Dartmouth Printing Company for providing use of their parking lot. ~ George Clark, Norwich, VT
Greensboro Ridge Winter Wildlife – 1/22/11 – Alcott Smith and Gail McPeek led an enthusiastic group of 25 on an exploration of the forested trails and ledges of the Greensboro Ridge Natural Area, hunting for signs of wildlife in the winter woods. Snowshoes were essential! Because the snow was so deep, wildlife sign was sparse, but Alcott found plenty of fascinating things to share.