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Green River Watershed Alliance offers beaver education programs

GUILFORD—On the weekend of Oct. 16 and 17, the Green River Watershed Alliance will host two programs on beavers.

The ponds and wetlands created by these industrious animals help mitigate drought and the impact of floods. They increase the richness and diversity of wildlife habitat. They can also cause headaches for road crews and property owners.

The first program will take place in Marlboro on Oct. 16. Participants will meet at the post office at 4 p.m. and will drive from there to visit a couple of beaver ponds at the headwaters of the Green River.

Patti Smith, naturalist at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center and longtime watcher of beavers, will interpret the signs of autumnal beaver activity. Fall is the best season for beaver watching; the beavers are busy preparing for winter, there are no more mosquitoes, and the colors of autumn are reflected in the waters of the pond.

These sites are both on quiet back roads and provide “wonderful opportunities for wildlife watching year-round,” the GRWA notes in a news release. “They exist, in part, because of the flow devices installed to keep the beavers from plugging culverts.”

Biologist Skip Lisle has developed these systems for resolving beaver conflicts and will co-lead this outing. Lisle will talk about how the devices work and why he has dedicated his life to helping beavers to do their work.

On Sunday, Oct. 17, the second program, a problem-solving event, will take place in Guilford at the Soszynski Farm, 1136 Guilford Center Rd., at 1 p.m. The pond there is a beaver magnet and previous owners have had a zero-tolerance policy.

When the Soszynskis moved in, they hoped to have a different relationship with the beavers. Can it be done?

The session will begin with a half-hour presentation in the barn. (Bring a folding chair if you’d like to sit.) Lisle will talk about the solutions he uses to prevent culvert blocking, regulate water levels, and safeguard prized trees. The group will then tour the farm’s beaver wetlands with an eye toward conflict resolution and letting beavers do their work.

These programs are free and open to all. For more information, contact patti@beec.org.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #634 (Wednesday, October 13, 2021). This story appeared on page C3.

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