Noble View enjoys a long history of conservation, from the settlers and farmers who first made use of the land, to the volunteers who care for the property today.
Below are descriptions of our ongoing efforts to preserve and protect this unique natural resource, and to exercise responsible stewardship of the land.
Over the last five years, we have removed much of the scrub and small tree growth that took over the meadow north of the farmhouse and west of the Double Cottage, and between the treeline and the stone wall east of the barn. We plan to seed the meadow with native grasses, and will maintain the growth at an optimal height for wildlife.
We’ve also cut fire breaks to the northeast of the North Cottage, and will maintain these areas, as well as the hillside to the east of the Double Cottage, as habitat for birds and small animals.
We’ve done a lot of work to restore the wall along the entry road west of the barn, and the walls that border the north edges of the meadows to the north of the buildings.
Please join us as we continue to work on this project. Restoration work days will be posted on the News and Events page.
Invasive plants are non-native species that have spread into native or minimally managed plant systems. These plants cause economic or environmental harm by developing self-sustaining populations that dominate and/or disrupt native ecosystems. Apart from forming dense stands that crowd or shade out natives, invasive species can alter ecosystem processes such as hydrology, soil chemistry, and the frequency of natural fires.
The Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group (MIPAG) has three classifications for invasives: Invasive (a non-indigenous plant with the biologic potential for rapid and widespread dispersion and establishment in minimally managed habitats); Likely Invasive (a non-native species that is naturalized in Massachusetts but not yet widespread), and Potentially Invasive (a non-native species not currently known to exist in Massachusetts, but expected to become invasive in the future).
The best method of control for invasive plants is prevention. Preventing intentional spread through horticulture, and removing or killing invasive plants when they are first spotted, can avoid significant problems later on. Where invasives have become established, removal can be accomplished through hand-pulling, mowing, cutting, or, rarely, the use of herbicides.
(The above is adapted from MIPAG's Guide to Invasive Plants in Massachusetts.
At Noble View, invasives established in our woods and meadows include Japanese barberry, autumn olive, burning bush, Bell's honeysuckle, Oriental bittersweet, garlic-mustard, purple loosestrife, and many more. As part of our stewardship of the property, we will hold invasive plant removal workdays.
If you're interested in participating, please check the News and Events page for schedules.
We plan to pursue the certification of Noble View's several vernal pools with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. For certification, a pool must be located on two maps, and show evidence of obligate species.
A vernal pool is a contained basin depression lacking a permanent above-ground outlet. In the Northeast, the basin fills with water with the rising water table of fall and winter, or with the meltwater and runoff of winter and spring snow and rain. Many vernal pools in the Northeast are covered with ice during the winter. They contain water for only a few months in the spring and early summer; by late summer, a vernal pool is generally (though not always) dry.
Because of its periodic drying, a vernal pool does not support breeding populations of fish. However, many organisms have evolved to use these temporary wetlands. Such organisms are known as "obligate" species, because vernal pools are essential to certain parts of their life cycle. There are ways to recognize a vernal pool even after it has dried up, but obligate species are the main determinant. In New England, the easily recognizable obligate species are fairy shrimp, mole salamanders, and wood frogs.
Fairy shrimp are small (about 1 inch) crustaceans that spend their entire lives in a vernal pool. Eggs hatch in late winter/early spring. Females eventually drop an egg case, which remains on the pool bottom after the pool dries. The eggs pass through a cycle of drying and freezing, and hatch out when water returns.
Wood frogs are amphibians native to upland forests. They venture to vernal pools in early spring, lay their eggs, and return to the moist woodland for the remainder of the year. Tadpoles develop in the pool and eventually follow the adults to adjacent uplands.
Mole salamanders are also upland organisms. They spend most of their lives in burrows on the forest floor. On rainy nights in the spring, they migrate to ancestral vernal pools to mate and lay their eggs, returning afterward to the forest. The eggs develop in the pool. By the time the pool dries, the young have emerged to begin their life as terrestrial animals.
(The above is adapted from the website of The Vernal Pool Association.)