Mink Brook Nature Preserve is a popular destination to see wildflowers and ferns. More than 130 species of native herbaceous plants grow on the Preserve, including 20 species of ferns. Red trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, trout lily and phlox are just a few of the many species you can see here. Whether you’re an experienced botanist, learning to identify local flowers or just want to enjoy some beautiful spots, please join us for our annual Mother’s Day wildflower walk!
Restoring Native Floodplain Forest
Invasive plants (buckthorn, honeysuckle, garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed) had infested abandoned farmland here. The Hanover Conservancy, working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and eco-forester Ehrhard Frost of Full Circle Forestry, is engaged in a multi-year effort to restore native vegetation. Blue flagging tape marks work areas.
After three years’ work to control invasive buckthorn, honeysuckle, barberry, and Japanese knotweed that had overrun the floodplain at Mink Brook, we replanted with 2000 native trees and shrubs. The species selected are well-adapted to water level changes and offer excellent food and cover for birds and other wildlife. Silver and red maple, red osier dogwood and elderberry, and others will occupy the space formerly taken by invasives. For a few years, they’ll remain protected by mesh sleeves against the efforts of hungry beavers and deer.
Thanks to our volunteers, including the Hanover Lions Club, who worked alongside our forester, Ehrhard Frost of Full Circle Forestry, and his crew. The project is supported by a cost-share grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and a generous gift from the Hanover Lions Club. Thanks also to Hanover/Norwich Youth in Action for checking on the plantings, pulling garlic mustard, and improving trail surfaces.
Bio-engineering at Mink Brook
When Tropical Storm Irene blasted through our region a few years ago, it altered the path of Mink Brook here in the preserve, most visibly just above the log bridge. The stream abandoned one channel and the force of the current moved north, creating new erosion that we have monitored ever since. In 2014, we installed a “bio-engineering” project to restore stream-side habitat and slow erosion. In April, our volunteers cut stakes of live willow at Birch Meadow Farm in Fairlee (a riverfront farm conserved by the Upper Valley Land Trust) and kept them dormant in a snowbank on the north side of a Lyme barn. Weeks later, when conditions were right, the stakes were driven into the eroded streambank. They have now sprouted! Their roots and shoots should help knit the bank together, protecting water quality by settling sediment, reducing erosion, and shading the water to keep it cool, and providing habitat for perching birds and cover for brook trout – naturally.