Tag Archives: moose hill

Boy running across boardwalk at Wellfleet Bay

Hikes to Squeeze in Before the School Year Starts

Thinking about back to school already?! Wasn’t summer just getting started? We get it, we feel it, and we have just the thing to help you savor the last few weeks of precious summer vacation.

Go on a hike, see something new, and discreetly get the kids’ brains back into “learning mode”.

For Late Summers on the Cape

Have one last trip to the Cape planned? Check out Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellfleet, where you can explore relaxing trails and coastal seascapes. We recommend finding your way to the boardwalk, which winds through the salt marsh to the beach.

In the late summer, you’ll find a wealth of marine life and migrating shorebirds, and fruiting plants that help them refuel for migration. You can learn about the effects of climate change, coastal erosion, and sea level rise. And, at the Nature Center’s learning stations, find out about our wildlife conservation and research programs, including Diamondback Terrapin nest protection, cold-stunned sea turtle rescue, Horseshoe Crab monitoring, and ongoing research on Whimbrel migration.

We call this the “I can see the ocean!” run

For The Berkshires Travelers

Maybe you’re craving more mountains than beach. If so, you’ll love soaking in the summer sunsets from the high elevations at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox.

Check out the Trail of the Ledges/Overbrook Loop track for an 850 vertical foot hike to the top of Lenox Mountain (2,126 foot elevation). Take in the views of Mount Greylock to the north, the Taconic Range to the west, and the Catskill Mountains of New York to the southwest. 

Ahh, just the high-level life perspective you need before back to school shopping. © Brooks Payne

For a Lesson on Food & Farming

Picture this: the school year is in full swing, there’s homework to be done, and dinner to cook. The last thing you want to do is negotiate eating vegetables. However, you can get ahead of the chaos by teaching healthy eating habits before the school year starts at these farms.

Drumlin Farm in Lincoln and Moose Hill in Sharon are Mass Audubon’s working farms and wildlife sanctuaries, dedicated to growing food sustainably, organically, and without chemical pesticides. Squeeze in a fun visit to either so you can show your family where and how their food is grown, and create a positive connection between them and fresh produce.

On the weekends, stop by the farm stands for a tasty souvenir of your adventures. And if you’re visiting Drumlin Farm, don’t forget to traverse the Farmyard Loop to say hi to our resident barnyard animals⁠—cows, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, and more!

For Those Last-Minute Summer Reading Logs

Thornton W. Burgess, children’s author most known for his classic bedtime stories and that featured the beloved character Peter Rabbit, was inspired by the wildlife and landscape of present-day Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Hampden.

It’s not hard to see why—this sanctuary is teeming with life. Burgess’s former home is viewable from Main Street, now on the historic register and currently occupied by staff. Explore the 4 miles of trails that wind through this magical, historic sanctuary, before settling into bed with a classic Burgess tale.

“Peter sat bolt upright with his eyes very wide open. In them was a funny look of surprise as he stared up at Jenny Wren. “What are you talking about, Jenny Wren?” he demanded. “Don’t you know that none of the Rabbit family swim unless it is to cross the Laughing Brook when there is no other way of getting to the other side…”

-The Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess

For a Lesson on Reclaimed Outdoor Spaces

The story of our Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Plymouth is one that inspires current and future management of outdoor spaces. Once a working cranberry farm, this landscape recently underwent the largest freshwater ecological restoration ever completed in the Northeast. Now, Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary is a 481-acre property that’s home to a vast expanse of cold-water streams, ponds, forest, and woodlands—all permanently protected and open for everyone to enjoy!

Explore the four miles of trails that traverse the reclaimed wetlands of Tidmarsh and keep an eye out for signs of the returning healthy ecosystem, including herons, ducks, turtles, and frogs. A great lesson in biodiversity for budding biologists and ecologists!

5 Fun Facts About Moose Hill

By Karen Stein, Moose Hill Sanctuary Director

I am often reminded as I meet people on the trails at Moose Hill in Sharon or as I go about work in town, that the land “up on the hill” has really been a part of the lives of so many people for such a long time.

When it was established 100 years ago as the first Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary, it encompassed 225 acres. Today, we welcome visitors to 1,971 acres of protected land that came to us via 80 separate parcel donations or purchases. Check out these five facts about the sanctuary that might just inspire you to visit.

The Pools Are Alive

A vernal pool

A vernal pool off the Summit Trail

Moose Hill is home to at least eight vernal pools, temporary bodies of water that provide critical habitat for amphibian and invertebrate species like salamanders and wood frogs. Four of these vernal pools are found along the aptly named Vernal Pool Loop. The others are mostly found off trails located on the western side of the sanctuary. Spring is the time to find the vernal pools, often alive with the chorus of wood frogs and spring peepers! Learn more about vernal pools

A True Community Farm

Volunteers from Boston University help out with the CSA

Volunteers from Boston University help out with the CSA

We believe that healthy farming leads to healthy people and a healthy community. While Wards Berry Farm has been farming Moose Hill land for over 25 years, we decided to partner with them 11 years ago to offer nearby residents the opportunity to take part in an organic summer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.

The Wards brothers are responsible for the cultivation of the land and planting of the crops on our 17 acres, and Moose Hill oversees the management, harvesting, and distribution of the organic crops.

Deep Roots

George and Martha Maple Trees

George and Martha Maple Trees

The Billings Loop takes you through mixed forest, past old farm fields, and over a boardwalk through a red maple swamp. The trail is only one mile and easy to hike. After it curves past the Billings Barn and Bat Barn, you will notice two rather large, spectacular sugar maple trees.

Affectionately named George and Martha, these trees are more than 250 years old. They have been the subject of many an artist’s eye, including water colors, charcoal drawings, and photographs.

Nature’s Playground

pine forest play

The beginning of the Forest Trail has a wonderful natural play space. The ground is a bit cushioned from the pine needles, and a fallen tree, worn smooth from play, has been the focus of many adventures for our youngest visitors. This tree has been a rocket ship, a train, a school bus, and a door. You can also “squeeze through a tree”, jump off stumps, and create mouse houses or fairy homes.

Coming soon will be an official Nature Play Area called Cookie’s Garden complete with rainbow sticks, a play hill with a tunnel, a mud kitchen, stump jumps, weaving areas, and more.

A Surprising View

Most people who hike to the Bluffs stop at the first overlook, walk a short distance to the next overlook, and then turn back. But, if you continue on, down the hill, over a stream, and back up the other side (a 15-minute hike), you arrive at Allen’s Ledge. Not only does this ledge offer another great view, but you will also notice the chimney that is on the ledge.

In the 1930s, a cabin was built on this ledge. It burnt down in 1942, leaving behind only the chimney. Makes you wonder what it would have been like to stay in this cabin. How did people get here? Did they carry in all their supplies? Why even build a cabin right here? It really is true that a hike in our woods can reveal many surprises.

Visit Us!

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is located at 293 Moose Hill Parkway in Sharon, Massachusetts. Learn more about Moose Hill and get directions.

Celebrating 100 Years

This post is part of our 100 Years of Wildlife Sanctuaries Celebration. Learn more and join the fun!