By Susan Schroder, TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator
Tuesday, October 16th, the day of HLT’s Senior Walk at Conway Hills Wildlife Sanctuary hike, began with fifty-degree temperatures and a blustery cold wind. But when we walked twenty feet into the shelter of the forest at Mass Audubon’s property, we were protected from the wind and the entire walk was sunny, calm and delightful. There were thirty of us led by Audubon’s civilian educator, Connie Parks. Birds were not plentiful this day so Connie focused on the trees around us.
In fact, her passion for trees was so great that it was contagious. We were mesmerized with the intimate details of their structure, function, and uniqueness as well as Connie’s use of Latin words! She spoke about the cellular layers of bark and how the forests are adapting to the warmer temperatures. We learned that there are both male and female pine cones. How can you tell them apart? The bigger ones are male! And we continued to be entertained by Connie’s humor while we periodically gathered around her as she explained another fact about trees. Did you know that there is a chestnut oak and how to tell its leaves apart from a chestnut tree, or that sassafras trees have three differently-shaped leaves on the same tree?
After luxuriating in the forest on this beautiful autumn day, we left each other for a moment to drive down to Field Memorial Library where we then regrouped in the library’s Community Room for a salad and homemade vegan chili which were provided by HLT. The crowning glory of the meal however, was all the delicious deserts that the hikers contributed. A tasty way to end the event. Thank you all!