Mountain Day and Maintenance at MacLeish Field Station

13 Oct

View of the Holyoke Range on the approach to MacLeish. (Photo by author)

MacLeish hosted a record number of Smithies for Mountain Day on September 29th and has been taking the past week as a resting period.  Student activities included hiking, enjoying the view of the Holyoke range around the fire pit, eating apple cider donuts, climbing the old apple trees in search of apples, taking on the new challenge course, and biking.

MHrange2View of the Holyoke Range from the fire pit area. (Photo: Julia Graham)

Last Friday afternoon, four CEEDS interns traveled out to Whately to fix a waterlogged section of the red trail with the help the Field Station’s neighbor Peter. We moved rocks from the parking lot using Peter’s great orange tractor and spread them along the section of trail that had been washed out. We enjoyed checking out the forest ecology in between tractor deliveries. It took the five of us about 45 minutes to complete the work, with much help from the tractor.

Anna, Ellen and Shelby, three STRIDE interns, work on regrading the red trail. (Photo by author)

We also did some maintenance of the fruit tree orchard in preparation for fall understory plantings and for building the comfrey utility bed. The comfrey will provide nutrients to trees and will be part of a research project with the Temperate Edible Forest Research Network. Much more work will be done in the coming weeks, including planting of comfrey and understory plants, weeding around the fruit trees, and applying white paint to the side of the trees to prevent harm from winter sun.

 flanigan comfrey
Comfrey plant in bloom.

Julia Graham, ’16 currently works as a CEEDS intern primarily at the Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station. She is the only student certified to facilitate the use of the challenge course at MacLeish. Julia is a Sustainable Food concentrator and manages to find connections between a lot of different things. We like that she asks a lot of questions and then shares back the connections she finds.

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