Members explore Whortleberry Hollow

(courtesy of Board Member Kathy Reardon)

On a crystalline September Sunday, a group of HLCT supporters were treated to an exploration of Whortleberry Hollow, a 13 acre HLCT property donated by Suvia Whittemore in memory of her late husband Justice Arthur Whittemore. Lois Levine graciously allowed event access through her Gardner Street property, the former Whittemore home.

Our guide, Steve Ivas, a wetland and natural resource specialist, demonstrated that this small reservation is a microcosm of varied plant communities and geological features. The primary path surrounds the old kettle hole (over 40 feet below nearby Cushing Street) formed when earth settled around a huge block of ice that later melted as the glacier receded. Here, Steve pointed out a variety of plants and trees whose habitats range from full wetland (wet all year) to borderline wetland and damp slopes: spicebush, royal fern, cinnamon fern, sweet pepper bush, red maple, witch-hazel, wild sarsaparilla and sassafras.

Surrounding the hollow are eskers, gravel deposits also left by the receding glacier, upon whose drier banks we saw dominant clusters of American Beech which exude allelochemicals that suppress competing vegetation. Running through the property is a “gaining stream”, taking ground water and carrying it to Plymouth River, Cushing Pond, Fulling Brook and ultimately to the Weir River.

We hope you find an hour or so to enjoy Whortleberry Hollow. Please park on the west side of Cushing Street, cross carefully and enter through the park’s fenced walkway.