Tag Archives: pine grove

The Pine Grove at MABA by Maris Van Vlack – RISD Student and MABA Intern

The Pine Grove Path is the shortest path of the MABA trails, but it is special because it is primarily pine trees, not deciduous trees like the rest of the MABA property. Pine trees tend to have higher branches, so the view of the forest is not blocked with lots of branches and leaves. The ground is the orange color of dead pine needles, not brown with dead leaves. 

In the drawing above, the wavy lines on the path represent the shadows of the trees, and also imply the uneven texture of the path’s surface.
Pine trees have branches growing out on all sides, and drawing trees this way makes them seem more lifelike. 
White pine cones

The pine grove is made up of mostly white and red pines, which are some of the most common pines in New England. White pines have long, thin cones (above) and red pines have shorter, rounder cones (below). 

Red pine cone

I noticed some sassafras plants sprouting up by the side of the paths. Keep a lookout for Black Swallowtail Butterflies, which are attracted to sassafras. 

This painting shows the view looking up at the trees. I find it exciting to look up at this place because the sky is visible, unlike most of the surrounding area. I used a wet-on-wet watercolor technique, which causes the paint to blend more and makes the colors run ino one another. 

This last painting depicts some logs and branches on the Pine Grove Path. I used water to blend the trees in the background, so that there would be a sense of depth in the painting. 

Nature in a Minute: Whose woods these are…

On January 1, 2019, Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening entered into the public domain and I have been pondering the lines from that poem, especially

Whose woods these are…

Robert Frost, 1923

as I take people on programs through the wildlife sanctuary – like high school photography students, develop STEAM curriculum inspired by our natural world, and continue to learn about our amazing natural world right here in Canton. Whose woods are these…

A Great-horned Owl has taken up residence in our pine grove.

As I quietly walked through our wildlife sanctuary, through a grove of tall, spindly white pines and oaks looking for the aforementioned great-horned owl, a white-tail flashed and a “herd” of deer bounded away my foot steps. My attention was draw to a quieter, subtle sound of faintly rustling leaves and breaking twigs gave away the location of a no longer resting coyote.

Coyote, January 8, 2019

Here is a video from our trail camera of four white-tailed deer bounding across the pine grove late one afternoon this new year.

Four deer bounding through the pine grove

Here is a trail camera video from the past week of a single coyote a little past dawn moving through the pine grove.

Coyote in the pine groove

Since the New Year, our wildlife sanctuary has been bursting with activity fueled by an eruption of pine cones. Each day there is a cacophony of squirrels, both red and grey, and seed eating birds, like red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, brown creepers, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadees, and more. The ground is covered with pine cones, including this pile near a vernal pool on the property.

A cache of pine cones. January 8, 2019.

A red squirrel moved frenetically – both eating pine seeds and remaining vigilant for predators – like the coyote and great horned owl that have both taken up residence in the pine grove.

A red squirrel frenetically collects and eats pine seeds

As a raptor hunted near by and blue jay’s mobbed the bird, a grey squirrel hung tightly to the trunk of a tree and tried to blend in until the danger passed. Whose woods are these…

Robert Frost reading Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

The splendor and solace of snow…nature in a minute

Although spring is right around the corner, winter is hanging on with three Nor’easters in the past two weeks. After all the shoveling and arduous cleanup (huge thanks to our property manager Owen Cunningham), we took an hour to snowshoe the wildlife sanctuary and enjoy the quiet and calm that always seems to follow a large storm. The trees were blanketed with a thick snow and everywhere you looked the wildlife sanctuary was painted white.

The meadow was blanketed with nearly two feet of snow and only one set of snow shoe tracks. 

The start of the main loop trail.

This trail leads to our vernal pool. In less than a month, as you walk up the hill you will be treated to an auditory sensation as a loud chorus of wood frogs welcomes spring. It is amazing how quickly nature turns in the spring. In two months, the pine forest floor will be covered with pink lady’s slippers that will be using the snow melt to thrive in May.

This is the spot that the wood ducks frolicked less than two weeks ago.

The vernal pool on our main loop trail.

Snow weighing down the saplings growing in our pine grove.

Who will use this cavity in spring? Maybe a chickadee or hairy woodpecker?

The pine grove. Deer recently walked by this scene.

A snow covered Pequit Brook.

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