Walking and learning

 IMG_8915 This article originally appeared in the April 10, 2008 issue of the Wareham Courier.

Wareham - The Wareham Land Trust sewed the final stitches of a patchwork of conservation land around Mark's Cove in West Wareham.

IMG_8939 The 8-acre parcel will join 90 acres in the area already held by the town, the Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts and Mass Audubon. The new acres contain upland and vernal pools along with fresh and saltwater marshes. While by the parcel itself isn't home to a vast wealth of protected species, the pools at wetlands serve as a breeding ground for a variety of animals, including the endangered diamondback terrapin, and the property links together other ecologically valuable plots. “It shows what you can get done when you bring groups together,” Jim Munise, president of the Wareham Land Trust, said. The property originally belonged to the DiGesse family and was identified by the Land Trust after a little bit of investigation. According to Munise, the original property owner died. Because the land didn't seem to have any value for development, the heirs didn't bring the property through probate. So tracking down the owners to inquire about the property was a bit of a feat. “It was a lot like solving a mystery,” Munise said. Most of the acreage is covered in pitch pine and white oak. Brush thorns and brambles wind their way around the other plants. The thorns are great fodder for deer, and the evidence of their wandering snacking rests waist high along the trails where they have chewed down the plants. Evidence of other animals abounds. Their tracks run through the forest, and piles of their droppings rest along trails to trap the inattentive hiker. The property was financed by private donations, a matching grant from the Stifler Family Foundation, and a Conservation Partnership Grant provided by the Division of Conservation Services under the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The conservation restriction on the property, once it's put into place, will be held by the Conservation Commission. If you'd like to learn more about the Wareham Land Trust, visit their Web site at www.warehamland.org. IMG_8895 IMG_8913IMG_8844IMG_8836