Speed Date

dunning bridge

Some Mondays we only have time for a quick trek. Such was the case today, so we walked down the  street and headed off on the trails in Pondicherry Park. We actually exited a couple of hours later via this bridge, but it’s the entrance most people use and a work of art. The Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge was built by master craftsmen and women, family and friends to honor Bob, himself a master craftsman who was taken from this world much too early. One of my favorite  features is that each of the sixteen crossbeams was created from a different tree species and the bark was left on all. For my Maine Master Naturalist capstone project, I created a brochure and slide show to help others identify the trees. The slide show is available on the LEA Web site and the brochure is available at the kiosk by the bridge (when I remember to fill it. My guy pointed out that it’s empty again–tomorrow, tomorrow.)


I know it’s an invasive species and this photo proves it, but I didn’t realize that for years. I used to cut it in November and use it for decorations. This is a bittersweet vine. It does make for an interesting scene. And provides the birds with lots of berries . . . which, um, provides the park and town with more bittersweet.

bittersweet up close

A closer look.

bittersweet on ash

It’s got a grip hold, that’s for sure.


Because it’s too early for leaves, the new Maine Lake Science Center stands out among the trees. This is a pet project of LEA (Lakes Environmental Association), where yours truly serves on the Board of Directors.


Last year, LEA purchased a sixteen-acre lot with an existing building adjacent to Pondicherry Park. The building is being renovated to serve as researcher housing, a meeting room, lab, education center and a park welcome center.

This is destined to become a hub for world-class lake research by providing support to researchers in Maine and beyond who come to study our lakes. While Executive Director Peter Lowell will continue to head LEA, Dr. Bridie McGreavy will serve as the director of the center. I’m tickled about that because she has always been one of my mentors. In fact, she taught me the joy of sniffing red fox pee. Yup, it doesn’t get any better than that.


We are the Lakes Region of Maine, and the lake science center will serve as the voice of change. We are on the brink of something really big here.

MLSC Bridie's view

Though she won’t officially work here full-time until 2016, this is part of Bridie’s new digs.

MLSC main conf room

And what once was a living room, dining room and kitchen is being transformed into a conference room. When my guy and I stepped over the stonewall and onto the property this morning, Peter happened to be pulling in so we had another tour. The building is on schedule to open this summer.

beaver 1

We looped back into the park because I wanted to check on the beaver works.

beaver 2beaver 3

Yup, they’ve been busy. Some of this work was done in December. But the tree on the left has been worked on since then.

beaver teeth

My, what big teeth you have. Their teeth, which never stop growing, are like chisels.

Beaver tracks Dec 5

I have to be honest. I took this photo of beaver tracks in December.

Willet brook

We paused quickly at Willet Brook.

new uniform

But we had to keep moving. As you can see, my guy’s uniform is changing. It’s a wee bit warmer in these parts.

Stevens Brook

And then we were back on Main Street and heading homeward bound. Our speed date had come to an end. I didn’t even bother to make PB&J.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a quick wander with us today.

4 thoughts on “Speed Date

  1. Bittersweet…..Love it! I even brought bittersweet home, here to Florida, from Massachusetts one fall…along with apples. I knew then that bittersweet was invasive, but couldn’t resist one of my fall favorites. As an aside, Brazillian pepper berries are invasive here, but robins love them….and spread them. They have a winter red berry which is pretty, but the sap can cause severe allergic reactions to some people.



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  2. I know, Faith. It is beautiful. And everywhere. I remember a lineman cutting some by our house years ago, and being extremely upset with him. Little did I know. Once, this winter, I went back with a petri dish to pick up some pileated woodpecker scat and found it was full of the berries/seeds. Of course, a woman was walking along the trail–poor thing. I jumped out and said, “Do you want to see this bird scat.” She’s probably never been the same since.


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