Trustees Quest

Long Hill

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Spotted salamander. Courtesy K Burdsall

You are standing in front of a vernal pool. These are small seasonal pools found throughout Massachusetts that fill up with water for part of the year but don’t hold it long enough to support populations of fish. Being free of fish means that many amphibians, such as wood frogs and spotted salamanders, and even invertebrate species such as fairy shrimp and caddisfly larva, can safely grow and thrive, without fishy predators.

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  • Activity Ideas
  • Explore More
  • History Tidbits
  • Property Map

Activity Ideas

Be a Nature Detective! Amphibians are cool critters that have unique life stages that require living in water – eggs, tadpole/larva, adult. Standing at the edge of the vernal pool, can you see any egg masses, tadpoles, or adult frogs?

Try to find each of the life stages. Do you hear adult frogs calling? Are they peeping, croaking, or is it a trill? Different species of frogs have different calls. See if you can identify them by their call.

Look around to see what other signs of wildlife you can find – bird nests, insects, tracks, chew marks.

Listen for other sounds like bird calls. What do you hear?

Sit quietly and observe – what do you hear, see, or feel? How does this compare with other Trustees Quest sites you’ve visited? What are you experiencing that you don’t where you live?

Explore More

From the vernal pool take one of the many trails back to the main house and Sedgwick Gardens. There you will see a variety of unique flowers and trees.

Can you find the Weeping Sargent’s Hemlock? Hint: this may look like a “witchy” tree, and you can duck under its hanging branches to explore beneath.

Count the statues and gates at Long Hill. How many can you find?

Don’t miss the view from the back of the house.

And be sure to explore the Cattle Trail to the orchard. The field is a prime spot to watch songbirds and listen for insects in the summer.

History Tidbits

In 1916, this 114-acre hillside property did not have the historic home or gardens you see today. An expert gardener built the home for a summer escape and designed these spaces as a series of outdoor garden “rooms”. The family who lived here also wanted to bring the outdoors inside and decorated their inside rooms with lovely murals of garden scenes and flowers. Look off into the distance: surrounding the gardens are more than 100 acres of woodland as well as an apple orchard, meadows, soon to come a new discovery garden, and chicken coop.

Property Map

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