Posted by: sforshner | August 4, 2008

nature jaunt

A while back Mike and I watched a documentary on the Discovery Channel on John James Audubon. His paintings of birds are known for being so detailed, vibrant and full of life because he shot down real birds, pinned their dead bodies up against a board, posed as if in flight, and then painted them.

This Sunday as we walked through the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary protected by the Massachusetts Audubon Society in South Natick, we laughed at the irony of all the preservation of life.

We drove down on a whim. What was meant to be a quick walk around a park in the amount of time it takes to drink an iced coffee turned into something pretty adventurous. Slightly unprepared, both of us wearing jeans, equipped with half-drank iced starbucks coffee that we had to leave in the car, no sunblock or bug spray, the trees here served as protection, and the fact that we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into masked ill-preparation with excitement.

As we entered the sanctuary, we lucked out at the very beginning because we saw a turtle swimming around in a pond. When he first poked his head up through the lily pads we thought it was a snake, but then he climbed out onto land to get some sun before sliding back into the muck…

Other than that, as far as wild animals go, we saw a bunch of dragon flies, I think a chipmunk, and a few birds.

But – in addition to the chance to see preserved wildlife on the walking trail is the opportunity to experience a bit of history. There are remnants of Thomas Swain’s mill, which was built in the 1690s and was powered by the waters of Indian Brook and the holding pond, or millpond. Here is one of two giant millstones…

And here is what is left of the dam…

I have nothing to say about the below picture, I just like it.

The nature center is a green building with its composting toilets and solar heating. The toilets were kind of creepy, but I appreciate their purpose and these solar panels are pretty impressive.

Admission is free for members of the Mass Audubon Society; $5 for nonmember adults; $4 for nonmember children (3-12) and seniors (65 and over). But the cool part is that if you decide against a membership in the beginning, but then want to invest after your walk, they will refund your original admission.

It is definitely a beautiful place and a great way to spend a Sunday…

280 Eliot Street
Natick, MA 01760


Mike recently reminded me of more details about the nature center that reveal how much more impressive it is – so I thought I would include:

It has solar power and heating.  The photovoltaic panels on the roof are for electricity, and the roof of the smaller greenhouse-type part of the building are hydronic (solar hot water) panels.  Fluid runs through them and is heated up, and in turn helps to heat the air in the heating system.




  1. it looks so beautiful! lovely job with the new camera =)

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