In the spring of 2023, the Town of Hanover conveyed a permanent conservation easement on 17.4 acres in Etna, composed of the King Bird Sanctuary and the Trescott Ridge Wetlands.
The King Bird Sanctuary, created by the Hanover Conservancy in 2011, honors the memory of two prominent Hanover conservationists and Conservancy members, Nan and Allen King. Located on the beautiful upper meadow of the Town’s Hayes Farm Park behind the Etna Library, the King Sanctuary features an extensive demonstration planting of native trees and shrubs, each labeled with their botanical and common names and description of their wildlife and ornamental values. The area was once sheep and then cattle pasture, and is still ringed with dramatic stone walls. A bench carved from a granite boulder offers a beautiful view over the Mink Brook valley.
The Trescott Ridge Wetlands are a spectacular red maple-black ash swamp, a relatively rare natural community. Located in the Mink Brook watershed, the wetlands are important for retaining heavy rains and releasing water slowly to help prevent flooding downstream.
A boardwalk and trail named for another Hanover conservationist, Audrey McCollum, offer good views of this peaceful area. The Town acquired the valuable wetland in 1971 during development of the 49-lot subdivision known as “the bird roads” (Woodcock, Quail, and Partridge).
The protected land will continue in Town ownership to be retained forever as scenic open space, allowing the public to enjoy low-impact recreation and explore its varied landscape and habitats. Volunteers are welcome to participate in tending the Bird Sanctuary.
How to get there
Park at the Etna Library and follow the mowed path up into the meadow. Trail guides are available at the library.
An easy-to-follow path winds from the Etna Library, where parking is available, up into the meadow. New trails managed by the Town Trails Committee lead through the Trescott Wetlands and to the “bird neighborhoods.”
The Hanover Conservancy and the Hanover Conservation Commission partnered to create this sanctuary to honor Nan and Allen King and to benefit Etna Village. It was dedicated on June 30, 2011, the Kings’ wedding anniversary, with over 60 people in attendance. In addition to the Conservancy’s King Memorial Fund, many volunteers and donors helped make the project possible, including those who supported the Town’s purchase of the Hayes Farm in 2010. The Conservancy thanks all who have helped with this project, especially neighbors Ken and Norma Pelton and Jay and Susan Pierson.
This land, with its handsome stone walls and crabapples, was once pasture for the Hayes Farm.
Conservation in Progress
In May 2010, the Town of Hanover voted to place a conservation easement on the King Bird Sanctuary at Hayes Farm Park, to be held by the Hanover Conservancy. We look forward to moving towards that goal in partnership with the Town. In the meantime, this beautiful property is open to the public and is overseen by a stewardship committee within the Hanover Conservation Commission. Learn more about the history of this parcel and its conservation values in Article 17 from the May 2010 Town Meeting.
Dominating the crest of the knoll is a stone bench, created from a glacial boulder by sculptor Chance Anderson of Canterbury, NH. Two smaller seats nearby, formed of a single stone cut in half, carry inset illustrations of a kingbird and a chickadee.
King Memorial Lilac Collection
In 2013, we added to the King Memorial with a special lilac collection to create a “reading garden” behind the newly expanded Etna Library. Lilacs in this collection, identified with botanical labels, come from Highland Park in Rochester, New York, where Nan and Allen King met many years ago. Stop by the Etna Library to pick up a bookmark that describes the lilac varieties in the planting.
See gorgeous photos of warblers and other birds observed among the blooming crabapples at the Sanctuary, taken by Jim Block.
The Conservancy has prepared a map and guide to the plantings to help visitors learn more about the wildlife benefits and year-round ornamental values of these native plants.Copies are available at the Etna Library.
This land, with its handsome stone walls and crabapples, was once pasture for the Hayes Farm. Preparing the Upper Meadow for planting required removal of a major infestation of invasive plants, including barberry, honeysuckle, and glossy buckthorn. Conservancy volunteers worked with the crew of E. C. Brown’s Nursery to remove the brush before the plantings were installed.