Podcast: Boutwell Shares Philosophy in Advance of Tattersall Farm Nature Walk Sunday

Tattersall Farm. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A nature walk takes place this Sunday morning in Haverhill.

Naturalist Roland “Boot” Boutwell is leading a group around Tattersall Farm, beginning at 9, at 542 Broadway. Boutwell, a retired teacher, leads classes and nature walks for a variety of organizations, including the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Appalachian Mountain Club. He was a guest earlier this week on WHAV’s morning program

“I think it’s very important for us, at the best of times, to reconnect with nature. I think it just helps us to relax and unwind. And I think that’s especially true at a time like this, in the midst of this pandemic where people are so incredibly anxious and concerned,” he explains.

Boutwell says plant growth is affected by many variables, such as elevation and prior usage. One of the plants he likes to identify first is poison ivy

“Wonderful scientific name, toxicodendron is the genus name. The poison tree. I’ve got a whole program on poison ivy. If there’s any poison ivy at the site, very often that will be one of the first plants that I teach. One wants to know ones’ enemy, right?” Boutwell asks.

Boutwell also loves the milkweed plant.

“Milkweed has wonderful flowers. In addition, there’s a terrific relationship with the Monarch butterfly that lays its caterpillar on the monarch leaves. The Milkweek caterpillar then eat the milkweed leaves. In the milkweed leaves, the sap happens to be toxic but it doesn’t kill caterpillars. They just carry the toxicity around with them and a bird, for instance, who tries to eat that caterpillar will throw up. So birds, very quickly learn not to eat the caterpillar of monarch butterflies,” he says.

Those looking to attend Boutwell’s nature walk this Sunday morning at Tattersall Farm in Haverhill should arrive at the parking lot around 8:45. There is a $10 suggested donation. Group sizes are limited and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

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