Are you someone who flips over fallen logs to see what critters might live underneath? Are you curious about all the amazing plants and animals that share our parks and backyards, or wonder how old trees are as you walk through a park? Ethan Belair, forester for Hillsborough County, asked those questions of the public and then offered interesting, cohesive answers during his recent Nature Hike at Benson Park in Hudson.
During a warm, sunny Saturday morning on July 27, 25 people gathered to learn more about the amazing plant and wildlife in their local park from a UNH Cooperative Extension Field Specialist. All ages were involved, with pointed questions coming from kids and adults alike. The hike covered a one-mile loop in Benson Park that included open meadow, transition areas with birch and white pine, and deeper wooded areas that offered a cool respite from the morning sun.
Ethan covered topics that included the age of local trees (generally 60-70 years at the park), the need for open areas, invasive species, the need for certain plants to maintain butterfly populations (milkweed for the Monarch), the succession of woodlands and how to identify poison ivy! He passed around samples for everyone to explore (except poison ivy), and patiently answered any questions. The group included members of the Benson Park Committee, the Conservation Commission, UNH Cooperative Extension, families, adults, and lovers of Benson Park. Thank you Ethan!