Category Archives: Uncategorized

Looking Beautiful!

Broadmoor is looking beautiful these misty mornings.  Photographer Chris Ruggiero captured the view of the Little Bluestem grass and rocky outcrop along the Orchard Trail.

IMG_4110-Morning fog  SA

Looking Hungry!  Near the Charles River Trail this healthy member of the weasel family, a Fisher, has been snuffling in the leaves looking for one of its favorite meals – Red Squirrel.

IMG_4969-Fisher 2   SABeautiful views from the new pavilion feature a field of goldenrods.

view from Parker pavilionLooking out from the new north entrance the wide porch roof is beautiful Douglas fir.

view from north entrance to porchView of the north entrance from outside showing the inverters bringing electricity from our solar panels into the building.

north entrance doorThe north entrance is a short distance from the new pavilion in the background.

north entrance with pavilionThe north entrance takes you directly to the program spaces on the lower level.  New tile floor and window bench adds a cheery aspect.

tile in program spaceWall mounted fans will make the program spaces comfortable year round.

fan in program spaceStanding seam metal roofing and colors like the samples to the left of the entrance will brighten up the old barn inside and out.

entrance w pavilion and paint samples

Getting Ready for Fall

The roofed over pavilion will provide shelter in all seasons, with great views of the field.  It will be the perfect location for star parties, Birds and Breakfast, and summer camp.

Pavilion framing

The entrance to welcome center invites visitors to come inside.

new addition entrance

The north entry porch is roofed over.  This is the view from inside looking out.

view from north entrance

Windows  installed in the East Program space include blinds sandwiched between glass to darken the room for programs.


east program space windows


Dragonflies and Damselflies are everywhere.  When you see large insects patrolling the fields and wetlands this time of year,  they may be Green Darners, giants among local dragonflies.  This pair is mating.  Adults migrate south for the winter and the next generation migrates north next spring.

DSC_5180a common green darners mating sm for web

Goldenrod in bloom in the fields is a sign of late summer.  Some people blame goldenrod for allergies,  but the real culprit is Ragweed, a nondescript plant with tiny green bells.  When the wind shakes the bells, they rain pollen into the air.

GoldenrodRagweed (2)

Insulation as summer winds down

Workers suited up to blow in cellulose insulation on the west wall of the welcome center addition.

blowing in cellulose

Cellulose blown into wall.

cellulose insulation

Insulation truck

Super insulation is key to keeping the building warm in winter and cool in summer. The East program space walls were foam insulated before wallboard was installed.

insulation in Eaast Program space   The nature center walls of the original renovation were insulated with fiberglas and vapor barrier.  New insulation systems are an entirely different concept according to sustainability consultant Mark Price.

fiberlas and vapor barrier

Beautiful clear days and lots of plants have lowered water levels in the mill pond. Reflections from upstream of the gristmill spillway show a late summer scene.

mill pond gristmill spillway

The bridge over mill pond leads to the sawmill spillway.

bridge over mill pond

August and September are mushroom time.  The name Russula emetica tells you the effect this mushroom has on humans.  But chipmunks love nibbling the caps as the mushroom on the left shows.

Russula emetica

Taking Shape

Visitors exit welcome center  onto the south porch; then directly onto the main trail and into the sanctuary.

exit from inside

The generous porches are taking shape.  They will be wonderful shelters and gathering places for visitors.  Visitors leaving the welcome center will exit right onto the main trail where the ladder is in the foreground.

south porch from trail 2

A view of the south porch looking up from the native plants garden.

south porch

In the fields,  asparagus gone wild looks fern-like, but look for red berries.


Bullfrogs are making their “Jug-o-Rum” calls from the marsh.  While this bullfrog looks greenish, look at the line that runs from behind the eye, around the “ear” (Tympanum) and down to the left foreleg.

DSCF0027a bullfrog sm for web

Green frogs have a dorsal line all the way down their backs from behind the eye.  They sound like a banjo being plucked and sometimes they squeek.

DSC_2459a for web

Inside Outside

This week there were lots of changes inside the nature center. Pipes arrived for the sprinkler system.

A and E Fire Protection - sprinklers

The assembly space had ceiling fans and sprinkler pipes installed.

ceiling fan

After stopping at the visitor services desk, you will exit the welcome center onto a new deck that connects directly to the main trail.  This photo is from the trail looking back toward the deck and the welcome center.

welcome center exit

It’s mid-summer and a little red is showing on the red maples at Little Farm Pond.


Chicory, a naturalized plant native to Europe is in bloom along field edges and roadsides.  The root is sometimes used as a coffee substitute.


The main trail is inviting.  As days get cooler visitors are enjoying walks in the woods looking for mushrooms, chipmunks and young birds out of the nest.

trail in forest

Fields are full of wildflowers and native grasses.

field trail

Half Way There

Midsummer is almost here and the nature center is nearly halfway complete.

The welcome center addition to the nature center is taking shape.  Visitors will enter through double glass doors on the right.  Inside the welcome center an elevator on the left will make the program spaces in the floor below accessible to all.

welcome center framed (2)









Staff will greet visitors from a circular desk with a terrific view of the field and nest boxes.










A mist net was set for summer campers to show one way scientists capture birds to band them.  This little beauty, a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, delighted the campers and staff.

DSC_7679 RT hummingbird banding camp JM

DSC_7655a RT Hummingbird and children JM


The program tent was welcome shelter for summer campers during this week’s heat.

 program tent in fieldConstruction crews worked through the heat to frame the welcome center.  The new glass-fronted entry will be on the far right.

welcome center framedShelter or trap?  The beautiful flower attracts insects,  but below the water lies a trap.  The underwater bladders of Yellow Bladderwort have hair triggers set.  When water fleas and other critters touch a hair, the bladder opens, sucking them in; then shuts, trapping its prey.

Utricularia - Copy Look for this native carnivorous plant off the boardwalk surrounded by floating duckweed, which looks like algae, but is a actually flowering plant.

Yellow bladderwort - Copy

Welcome to My Parlor….

Our welcome center addition isn’t exactly a parlor, but it’s starting to take shape.  This view of the entrance shows where the double entry doors will be.  A wide porch over the entry will be added in a few weeks.  A new visitor desk will be located where the ladder is propped on the far wall.

welcome center entry

The view out from inside the welcome center shows where visitors will enter the building from the main trail.

welcome center from inside

The construction site superintendent called to say there was a bird in the nature center.  With the help of a sweep net, we were able to capture the immature Carolina Wren.  Since bird banding was on the schedule for our campers in kindergarten and first grade, we gave the bird a permanent aluminum marker before releasing it.  A parent wren called it in as it flew off.

Band on Carolina Wren

The camouflaged crab spider waits in ambush, welcoming unsuspecting insects who visit the Queen Anne’s Lace flower.

DSCF5814a crab spider sm for web

A story about this flower tells its origin.  Queen Anne was making lace and pricked a finger with her needle.  A drop of blood fell into the center of the lace.  Look carefully to see one tiny blood red spot in the middle of each flower.  A European native,  these flowers are naturalized in fields and along sunny edges in New England.

Queen Anne's Lace

Onward and Upward

Wood decking across the concrete foundation shows the outline of the welcome center addition to the  nature center.  The undecked opening on the left will be the elevator shaft.

 welcome center decking

The foundation for the pavilion faces the field and treeline beyond.  Views will be spectacular when the mountain of earth is leveled.

Pavilion foundation

Ants are as busy as the construction workers at Broadmoor.  This one is perched on dogbane.

Ant on dogbane

Stand on the edge of a field and take a deep breathe.  Smell like honey?  That’s milkweed flowers.  A flower on the lower right is being visited by a honeybee and a bright red milkweed bug is crawling up the leaf to the left.  Later in summer, Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on the leaves and hatch into caterpillars that will feed on the leaves.

milkweed flowers w bug

Flowers and insects are all part of summer.  This beautiful jumping spider can be seen almost anywhere on the sanctuary waiting for prey.  It jumps using a hydraulic system of fluids rather than muscle power.

Jumping spider

Growing Up!

 Many of the baby animals at Broadmoor are growing up fast and so is the Broadmoor nature center addition and renovation.

A deep hole along the front of the nature center is the beginning of the welcome center addition.  On the left, forms for the concrete pad and supports for the elevator are being put into place.

forms for elevator foundationThe foundation is in place for the new north side entrance to program spaces for summer campers, scouts, school field trips, birthday parties and other groups.north entrance foundation

Four broods of Tree Swallows are using the nest boxes in the field opposite the nature center.  This demanding nestling and its four siblings keep their parents delivering food every ten minutes from dawn to dusk.  But they grow fast and leave the nest 2 – 3 weeks after hatching from the egg.  We bet the parents can’t wait!

Tree Swallow receiving a food delivery