There was a reason his offer was so enticing. The property features five ecosystems – from ponds, marshes and old growth forests with trees ranging from 150 to 500 years old to secondary growth forests and meadows filled with goldenrod. That range of landscapes attracts an extraordinary collection of birds that nest or migrate through there.
As of the start of October, Beaver Meadow staff had identified 199 different species of birds on the property. (Sirianno is offering a free Audubon membership to anyone who can identify the 200th bird.) In just a single day, he has counted 91 different species there.
Over the years, the Audubon Society has expanded the property to more than 350 acres, planted nearly 100 species of trees and created 8 miles of hiking trails filled with interpretative signage and scenic overlooks. Beaver Meadow is ideal not just for avid birders, but hikers of all skill levels and anyone looking to get out of the city for an afternoon for some fresh air and quiet.
“It is big enough, that no matter how many cars are in the parking lot, you can still find your own space,” Sirianno said. “Within seconds, you’re on your own.”
Beaver Meadow’s visitor center has remained open (with masks required) throughout the pandemic and the preserve has taken on new importance during this time period, Sirianno said. The center encourages families to explore the property for a total sensory experience – from seeing the trees change colors to hearing the symphony of migrating birds overhead and the crunch of fallen leaves on the trail, and, for those in the know, tasting the flavor of root beer from a broken-off twig of a birch tree. Those type of experiences leave children with memories they will never forget, Sirianno said.