Peak Foliage

Peak Foliage
October on Preston Pond

Brief History of Preston Pond

Born from glaciers about 13,500 years ago, the original pond was only what is now the wider north end. Probably about 10,000 years ago, as the modern forest started to take root, beavers colonized the pond and expanded it (old dams are under the water surface).

With the arrival of Europeans in New York and coastal New England, a vigorous fur trade grew in the 17th Century. Beavers are particularly vulnerable to trapping since they are easy to find and they were wiped out by the 18th Century. With no beavers to maintain the dams, Preston Pond drained and appears on 18th and 19th Century maps as only the smaller original glacial north end.

Reintroduction in the 1920's and 1930's led to beavers recolonizing Preston Pond. By chance, they arrived the same year my grandfather bought the property in 1946. Ever since then, beavers have lived unmolested (by humans) on Preston Pond - until February 2016. They have never caused flooding problems or over-eaten the surrounding forest stand to the point that they abandoned the pond. Their population has doubtlessly had its ups and downs, but they have managed their affairs here for the last 70 years as beavers did for millions of years: on their own, despite some of their top predators having been exterminated by humans.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Bolton Wildlife wins national award (small one)

"Neck Deep" West Bolton Beaver, Upper Pond Bolton Town Forest 15" x 24" acrylic - Mullen

This piece was submitted to Southwest Art Magazine's 2016 Artistic Excellence Competition just before I left for James Bay. I had less than two days to do it, so it wasn't completely finished (still some refining in foreground) and is not signed yet. It was an open international contest with no separate categories (which means wildlife has to go up against figurative, landscape, still lives etc) so I wasn't expecting much. And true enough I didn't make the cut for the big awards but was notified yesterday that it is in the "Top 100 Honorable Mentions" out of over 1,500 paintings. Minor award and small news in an art career but kind of fun that it is my first painting from Bolton that has won something on a national level.

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