As we walk toward the lake, you'll notice the gray squirrels, which seem to be everywhere in all seasons! They don't hibernate in the winter; rather, they sleep on the coldest days but are otherwise active, digging up acorns and seeds that they've collected in the fall. Their population size fluctuates dramatically in proportion to the acorn supply, though Wellesley never seems to be short on them.

Here we are by the lake; this shoreline is one of the most natural habitats on campus, and the plants we'll see here are mostly native species which grow here naturally. See these dried spikes of flowers on these shrubs lining the lake? They are last fall's coast pepperbush blossoms, and will remain on the plant until next summer. The pepperbush is one of a small number of plants that flowers in autumn, and its sweet scent attracts huge numbers of bees. Other plants by the lake include the highbush blueberry, of whose delicious fruit you are most probably aware.

Though Lake Waban is covered with ice at this time of year, there is still an abundance of animal life in and around the lake. Look for muskrats swimming in open water. They build conical dens above the water, with underwater entrances and breathing holes cut in the ice in the winter. Song sparrows and juncoes also remain for the winter, along with some Canada geese. Several species live under the snow as well - look at this mouse track!

Let's head back to the path now, and learn more about the sugar maple.




Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005