During the club’s early September tour, members enjoyed three conservation sites of interest in Groton: Surrenden Farm, Hazel Grove Park, and the Shattuck Homestead.
Surrenden Farm is a conservation land meant for the preservation of wildlife, nature-friendly farming, and for exploring and hiking by the public. It also evokes considerable natural beauty and peacefulness. It is jointly owned by the Conservation Commission and the Town of Groton.
Much of Surrenden’s charm is in the General Field, which is an open hay field, and features big sky: a vast expanse of the heavens, a view that is unhindered by trees and tall buildings. A place to sit and have a picnic, or to peacefully look at stars and contemplate the night’s beauty.
The Groton Conservation Trust owns and manages this public field, which includes open farm land and forested land with public hiking trails. It was previously an orchard, but was purchased by the Trust and cleared of its overgrowth of invasive species of flora. A large part of it is currently leased, and used by the tenant to grow hay.
In recent decades the Bobolink population has been declining significantly, likely because of the loss of its nesting habitat. Part of the area in the General Field is designed to be a ground nesting place, used to encourage propagation of the Bobolink.
Hazel Grove Park in Groton is owned by the town, and is public conservation land that includes both recreation ground and extensive forests and hiking trails next to the Nashua River. The forested area is managed by the Hazel Grove Agricultural Association in a way that encourages certain species of trees and wildlife. Hazel Grove Park also features an equestrian area with a local pony club. It was used as fairgrounds previously.
Shattuck Homestead on Martin’s Pond Road in Groton is an historical estate of about thirteen acres, once owned by the Shattuck family, and given to a local doctor as payment for medical treatment. The land across from it is owned by the town and the Groton Conservation Commission, and the town currently maintains and treats it for removal of the black swallowwort, an invasive species of flora that is toxic to animals. The town mows it twice during the summer, at times that avoid disturbing the life of the resident turtle species. Future plans include using this serene land for agriculture or community gardens.