Oak Hill Conservation Project

Land conservation around Somes Pond was started by Sanctuary Founder Virginia Somes Sanderson in 1985 with the donation of 33 acres on the south shore of the pond. Since then, there have been many pieces to the conservation effort that have come together to further protect this special place, thanks to the generosity and commitment of landowners and community members.

Thanks to the generous support and vision of numerous individuals and families, the Sanctuary was able to purchase a 26.6-acre undeveloped tract of land vital to the health of Somes Pond in the spring of 2020. The property is adjacent to the Sanctuary’s western boundary, and very close to the inlet stream to Somes Pond and associated wetlands. We have been interested in this particular property for years because it was one of the few remaining properties abutting the Sanctuary and offers significant opportunities for wildlife movement corridor protection, research, and education. It has high habitat value as a parcel unto itself with its large vernal pools and mature forest, but is particularly significant in the context of the watershed, the existing Sanctuary property, and other nearby conserved lands.  Thanks to those who could see the value of protecting this important parcel for the sake of watershed integrity!

Conservation Values and Opportunites Preserved

  • Habitat protection and habitat block connection – The property is part of a large, fairly intact (limited development) forested block of habitat. It is part of a substantial wildlife corridor – permitting movement of numerous species up and down the west side of the island. Several large vernal pools are located on the property offering amphibians (wood frogs, spotted salamanders, spring peepers) needed breeding and rearing habitat. Large maple and oak trees offer bat roosting habitat.
  • Research – expanded ecological study opportunities of our watershed’s forest, vernal pools, and wildlife;
  • Education – many possibilities for students of all ages to explore the area, conduct their own investigations; and Sanctuary education field trips.