| Ecosystems and Geoloogy |
There are five ecological communities in our woodlands preserve. Each is named after their dominant tree species.
The Oak/Hickory Forest Community
These woodlands survive well on the ridge top where the soil is shallow. The deep roots of oaks and hickory find scarce water in cracks in the bedrock. Their nuts are favorites of flying squirrels, chipmunks, mice, deer and turkeys.
The Maple/Beech Forest Community
These woodlands occupy the hillside. The shallow roots of these trees do much better in the moist soils of the hillsides. Many of the maple trees on the east side of the ridge are tapped each spring for maple syrup production. Hollow old maples provide dens for flying squirrels and raccoons.
The White Pine/Norway Spruce Forest Community
These woodlands occupy the wet soil adjacent to the marsh. White pine and Norway spruce were planted in the 60s. Now more than 30-years old, they tower over the marsh. These evergreens provide cover for birds in the winter and seeds for squirrels and birds. Many birds hide their nests in the dense tops of the Norway Spruce.
The Hemlock/White Pine/Black Birch Community
These woodlands thrive in the sandy soil along the stream. White pines planted near the stream in the 1960s are joined by volunteer hemlock and black birch trees. These fast growing trees now provide great nest sites for crows, hawks and great-horned owls.
The Aspen Forest Community
These woodlands are hard to find. They are located in the back of the property along Aspen Trail. Look up to see the golden branches on a winter afternoon or the quaking leaves in the summer breeze.
The geology of New Pond Farm includes ridgetop outcrops of bedrock (mostly along Baldy-Ridge Trail) glacier deposits (most evident where carved away by Blackmans Pond Brook by the Native American Museum), and stream sediments in the lowlands (underlying our pastures).
The bedrock which underlies the farm was originally deposited as sediment in the Iapetus Ocean (before the Atlantic). It was caught up on the continental collision of North America and Africa. This collision formed the Appalachian mountains 286 Million years ago. The heat and pressure of the collision changed or metamorphosed the sedimentary rock into metamorphic rock called gneiss (pictured left).
The bedrock gneiss contains metamorphic minerals which grew during metamorphism (period of heat and pressure). The most notable minerals are shiny micas, both muscovite (white) and biotite (black, pictured right) and red garnet. The garnets are very hard and resist weathering. Look for them sticking out of the rock like measles or chickenpox. In the sunshine, they are deep red.
The glaciers that once covered New England are evident on the Farm. Glacial erratics (large boulders perched precariously on the ridge top), cobbles, boulders, sand and clay all deposited by the glaciers. The top of Mt. Baldy was smoothed by the glacier. Now rounded with a steep side to the southeast, Mt. Baldy was probably once a towering peak. The steep face was created by ice sliding over the mountain and plucking rock off the back side.