THE FALLEN TREE
In the morning of February 20th, 2018, Andrew Sutphin discovered that a large lead of the Goldenrain tree, located in the middle of the park, had been uprooted due to significant rainfall the previous day. Another lead in the same grove was lost in the storm the next week. Luckily, no other trees in the immediate vicinity were damaged. This Goldenrain tree grove has been in the park for over 70 years. It was already mentioned on a map of the park in 1959. Pictures show the Saturday Volunteer crew cleaning up the debris after the storm.
By Evie Timberlake and Becca Clemente
Marquand Park is fortunate to have a tunnel-shaped structure believed to be of the 1800s. Except that the entrance door was probably smaller and likely enlarged to accommodate changing needs over time, the mysterious structure still retains the appearance and integrity it had for the past 200 years. Built into a bank just past the Japanese maple, the building currently is used as a storage shed.
Its original purpose is uncertain, but on a 1917 hand-drawn map of Guernsey Hall the building is listed as an ice house. It appears next to the lily pond (circled on the map) which probably froze in winter and may have been the source of the ice or it may have been delivered from Princeton Ice Company, now Mountain Lakes Preserve**. The lily pond no longer exists but landscape is indelible, and you can still see the dip in the ground where it once was. An opening, which could have been used as an ice chute, is visible in the interior ceiling vault. Two of Eleanor Marquand’s grandchildren remember the building as an ice house and a root cellar, recalling “In the days before refrigerators, people would store large blocks of ice insulated with layers of sawdust in root cellars. Then in winter, the same places would become storage places for veggies like beets and potatoes.”
THE AMERICAN BEECH AND CLIMATE CHANGE
According to an article by Arun Bose and coworkers**, changes in forest composition associated with climate change have been observed in the forests of the North-Eastern United Sates. The occurrence of American Beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) has increased while at the same time the number of sugar maples (Acer saccharum), red maples (Acer rubrum) and birch trees (Fagus grandifolia) has declined resulting in a clear shift in species composition. The increased dominance of beech trees raises concerns about a lack of biodiversity. Also, the American beech is disease prone and commercially less desirable than other tree species.
**Bose, A. K., Weiskittel, A. and Wagner, R. G. (2017), A three decade assessment of climate-associated changes in forest composition across the north-eastern USA. J. Appl Ecol, 54: pp. 1592–1604.