New England Rocks!

July 10, 2012: Conservation Day #4

For our fourth conservation project, we went back to Westville Dam to
resume the previous project we were working on (i.e.
building/restoring the trail) with park ranger, Jesse Caney. We
accomplished quite a bit by shoveling fresh soil and smoothing it out
to make a “curved bend” for the trail. Jesse shoveled the soil while
Mercedes and I raked it, but we all took turns doing different tasks.
While the three of us were working, we spotted some wildlife. There
were two cottontail rabbits that kept on dashing by us, and then
followed by a third one not too long after that. As Mercedes was
shoveling, she found a garter snake that slithered out from under the
mulch; this was the second garter snake she has encountered here at
Westville. We also learned from Jesse about the creature called Fisher
Cat, which neither Mercedes or I have ever heard of. This animal could
be found in the forests of New England; it is really aggressive and
knows how to climb trees. It is vaguely similar to a badger and strong
enough to take down a deer by itself. After a good session of trail
restoration in the hot sun, we took a 15 minute break by the stream to
eat some chilled watermelon slices. We went back to work on the trail
for another hour, and we ended up working for a total of two hours
that day.

July 14, 2012: Conservation Day #5
Our fifth conservation project took place at the Grand Trunk Trail
Brimfield Section, which is part of Westville Dam. This time we had
two park rangers, Jesse Caney and Jared Gagnon, leading the projects.
We focused on plant revitalization along the trails because a tornado
went through this region, uprooting many trees and causing a lot of
damage. The Westville rangers have recently planted new trees and
seedlings, so we had to make sure they were still in good condition
and thriving in the heat. After we completed with that project, the
rangers drove us to Lake Siog for some land observation. During our
drive to Lake Siog, Jesse spotted a turtle in the middle of the road;
he pulled over to go save the turtle by placing it back into the
stream. At Lake Siog, we met with a couple of the park
hosts/volunteers who gave us a mini tour around Lake Siog. To top it
off, they gave us a harmonica lesson, which was definitely the
highlight of our day.

July 15, 2012: Conservation Day #6

For our sixth day, we continued with the plant revitalization project
at Grand Trunk Trail Brimfield Section with the same rangers, Jesse
Caney and Jared Gagnon. Jared drove the truck this time and he
spotted a woodchuck running across the street towards our truck, so
Jared dodged the poor creature and spared its life for another day. We
watered the new planted trees and seedlings along the trail, it was
definitely nice to feel the cold water in the scorching hot sun. After
we finished, the rangers made a quick pit stop at Dunkin’ Donuts
because they wanted some “Oreo Coolatas” before we headed back to
Westville Dam to start the second project. The second part of the day
consisted of debris removal from the lake, preventing logs and other
items to enter the dam’s water system and ruin the machine. This
required the rangers to use a chainsaw to make the logs smaller and
more manageable to remove out of the water. We will admit, this was
definitely a tough task because the logs were still heavy despite of
its size. With great teamwork skills, all four of us removed quite a
bit of debris. We spent a total of 2 hours working with them that day.