Archive 2008 - 2019

Conservation Associates Hosted a Winter Walk

by Karen Fung

Holliston Conservation Associates hosted a Winter Walk in Brentwood Conservation Area on January 11, 2014.  Following a week of extreme cold due to the Polar Vortex, the air was spring-like with light showers.  Although the trail was a little soft on the surface, the underlying ground (and pond) was hard enough to support the curious group led by Mr. Marc Connelly, naturalist.  The snow cover had not yet completely melted away in the woods and we were able to see some remaining animal tracks.  Here is a sampling of what we saw.


 A vole tunnel under the snow.

Coyote scat.  The last meal was a gray squirrel.

Fisher tracks are seen in the snow.


Birch drop – this plant is a parasite and can be found near the birch tree.  It attacks the roots.

The birch trees.


Sweet pepper bush – the berries can be used like soap; and with water added, forms a lather.


Cranberries – there are three varieties “native” to Holliston: the Holliston, the Centennial, and the Batchelder.


Wild indigo – the berries were used in days of yore to produce a blue dye.  The plants are annual.  These are dried husks on last year’s plant.



Mr. Marc Connelly, naturalist, shows off an example of a beaver chewed twig.  The beavers eat the inside (soft) bark.  The enormous beaver lodge is seen in the background.


Beavers have downed an Alder tree.  This tree is about 12 inches in diameter.  The red and white mark on the tree indicates that this is a US Army Corp area for flood control. 

Comments (3)

Our walks are open to the public, and they are usually publicized on Holliston Reporter. I can also e-mail you. I am in the book if you want to call and give me your info. Since dogs scare away animals, we prefer they stay at home, unless we are walking on the rail trail. I hope to see you on a walk soon!

Mary Curran | 2014-01-17 17:57:20

How can i get involved in walks like this and can my pooch come too!

jean morrissey | 2014-01-16 11:28:17

Thank you, Karen. Love this article.

Theresa | 2014-01-16 07:17:33