Category: Out in the Woods

The Natural History of Deering Pond

by Gordon S. Johnston, Professor of Biology, Nasson College, August, 1973 Updated November, 2019 Introduction        I first saw the pond in the company of students John Holzapfel and Sidney Korn on a cold January morning in 1966. It was an impressive… Continue Reading “The Natural History of Deering Pond”

A Short History of Deering Pond

Various glacial actions carved a basin into ancient bedrock. About 14,000 years ago, meltwater from the last retreating glacier lined this basin with “rock flour”, a fine-grained silt made from the glaciers grinding away at the bedrock and suspended in the runoff. As the… Continue Reading “A Short History of Deering Pond”

Shifting Baseline Syndrome

Baby Boomers, Gen-X’ers, Millennials, Gen-Z’ers are terms describing generational groups. Boomers frequently heard the singing of the whip-o-will, enjoyed streets lined with elm trees, and catching brookies in local streams. Gen-X’ers witnessed Dutch Elm devastate their streets; few Millennials are found who’ve heard the… Continue Reading “Shifting Baseline Syndrome”

The Carbon Cycle & The 6th Extinction

The Carbon Cycle ( Go here for interactive display of above illustration.) At the beginning of the Archean Eon 4 billion years ago, life emerged upon Earth in a process called abiogenesis; ie., “origin of life”. Several evolutionary processes at the molecular level of… Continue Reading “The Carbon Cycle & The 6th Extinction”

The Monarch Chrysalis

“When the caterpillar is a full grown fifth instar caterpillar it is ready to molt the fifth time  to become a pupa, or chrysalis. The caterpillar will begin to wander until it finds an appropriate place to create its chrysalis. It will lay down a… Continue Reading “The Monarch Chrysalis”


In 1939, mining engineer Oliver Bowles estimated 259,000 miles of stone walls have been built in New England. Damage from theft, strip-mining for commercial sale, and demolition for housing construction has left about 100,000 miles, according to the Stone Wall Initiative, (from which… Continue Reading “NEW ENGLAND STONE WALLS”

McKeon Reserve Trails Map

Trails Map

Wood Frogs

The duck-like barking sounds of the wood frog are usually the first to be heard by our singing amphibians, as they call out to their mates from their vernal pool breeding sites.   Wood frogs are found in all types of forests, preferring damp… Continue Reading “Wood Frogs”

The Lady Slipper

Probably Maine’s best known orchid, these beauties make their home in many parts of The McKeon Reserve. Maine has four species of Lady Slippers; Pink, Yellow, Showy, and Ram’s Head. Two of these are rare in Maine: the Showy and the Ram’s Head. The… Continue Reading “The Lady Slipper”