What’s Out There? Mapping the Ecological Landscape of River Bend Farm

Knowing more about the soil, rocks, trees, plants, and animals that call our 105-acre property “home” is important to our conservation efforts and integrating ecosystem-based programs.

This summer, The Ecology School partnered with Parula Consulting, LLC to conduct an ecological assessment of River Bend Farm focused on identifying and mapping natural communities. Parula Consulting, LLC is owned and operated by Andy Wood, one of our former Educators who taught for four terms during Spring/Fall 2012 and Spring/Fall 2013 at The Ecology School. Andy spent several days documenting the property’s ecological features on foot and captured images from a camera set for 34 days. The final 58-page report provides an in-depth assessment with incredible facts about the land characteristics, plant and bird species as well as recommendations about best practices for community and student engagement activities to conserve the ecological integrity of the natural communities at River Bend Farm.

The full report can be found on our website (click here!) but here are a few interesting finds:

Five natural communities at River Bend Farm include Cobblestone Rivershore, Oak-Pine Forest, Hemlock Forest, Silver-Maple Floodplain Forest, and Upper Floodplain Hardwood Forest

  • Most of the Farm is underlaid by the Vassalboro Formation, a metamorphosed sedimentary rock. The Vassalboro formation is a mix of sandy and calcium-rich mud-stone. This bedrock material originated during the Ordovician-Silurian Period, some 417-495 million years ago.

  • The elevation of RBF ranges from 50-185 feet (15-55 meters) above sea level.

  • The plaintive pee-a-wee song of the Wood-pewee rings through the forests of River Bend Farm. You may not catch a glimpse of this bird but you will hear it! Wood-pewees are flycatchers, a group of birds that hunt insects from a perch. This bird migrates from the South American lowland forests north to the forests of North America, where it breeds. Pewees can live in edge habitat and interior habitat.