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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Arb Notes

    <vers are afoot. Last week Arboretum Director Nancy Braker took the student naturalists on a walk along Spring Creek between Bell Field and the Upper Arb. The highlight of the trip was the discovery of a pile of sticks beneath the surface of Spring Creek. The pile of sticks that we discovered is the remnant of a beavers’ winter food stash. The reason that beavers build dams is to create deep pools of water for building underwater entrances to their dens and storing food during the winter. This enables beavers to access food supplies even while the surface of Spring Creek is frozen.

    Recently there has been quite a bit of beaver activity in the Lower Arb along the river near the tennis courts and the retention pound. During the fall a beaver family gnawed on trees and built narrow paths that end with mud slides into the Cannon. During the winter beavers spend most of their time chilling out in an underground lodge and eating bark. But sometimes they go for walks and their tails leave a broad imprint in the snow behind them. Keep an eye out for beaver activity while you’re in the Lower Arb.

    Arb Director Nancy Braker is happy that beavers have created a home for themselves in the Lower Arb, but in 1977-78 a family of beavers living in Lyman Lakes became a nuisance. Those pesky beavers ripped through the forest near Goodhue and the Upper Arb with a vengeance. When natural food sources and predators are scarce, beavers may destroy valuable landscaping and hardwood trees. In response biology professor emeritus Gary Wagenbach decided to implement a beaver control program. This idea did not sit well with some people. The Northfield Save the Beavers Committee collected 593 signatures from Carleton students to express their “high levels of distress at the recent assassination of one of the beavers.” Funny things happened at Carleton back in the day. Thankfully, the beavers haven’t been causing too many problems in recent years. I hope they continue to behave themselves.

    By John Kraus on behalf of the Arb Naturalists.

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