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Walking in Beauty

December 28, 2023

Borton Wetland a historic property

It’s a time of celebration, and at the Clear Lake Township Land Conservancy there is a lot to celebrate.

The 100 acres of preserves, big and small, provide a cornucopia of ecosystems, land types, flora and fauna. Borton Wetland Nature Preserve, for example, spans woods and areas that some years would be wet.

When Judy Johnston was a child, she remembers the cows grazing there, and her grandma’s garden, fenced off, on the south side, along a glacial stone wall that remains a showpiece today on Sand Point Road. Johnston, whose home and red barn are across from the wetland, now protected in perpetuity by the Conservancy, is a fifth-generation Clear Lake resident.

On the northern roadside border of Borton Wetland, a thicket of trees hinders entry to the hardwood forest beyond. In the lower, inner part of the preserve, tall, golden grass is matted in circles where deer sleep at night. It is peppered with small trees that include birch, festive brown seeds still hanging on delicate shiny limbs.

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Seeds hang on a small birch tree in the lowlands of Borton Wetland Nature Preserve.

The Conservancy shares its eastern border with Blue Heron Ministries, an auxiliary to its Badger Barrens property near Mirror Lake. Along that property line grew a colossal white oak – multiple trunks exploding into a canopy of dark, sturdy limbs.

I wonder how old that tree is. A white oak tree in Basking Ridge, New Jersey lived 600 years, according to Wikipedia.

White oak trees grow up to 100 feet tall, and can be up to 100 feet wide. They are a haven for birds, and provide abundant acorns eaten by wildlife. Found throughout the Conservancy’s properties, white oaks stand as a stately example of how purposeful protection of natural resources provides a promise for tomorrow.

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Judy Johnston and Kathy Latz stand under a giant white oak tree at the border of Clear Lake Township Land Conservancy and Blue Heron Ministries properties.

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