I went up Round Top Hill in Chester to do land monitoring on the Hilltown Land Trust parcel graciously donated by Will and Sarah Freedburg with Audrey and Laurie. We spent hours documenting all that makes this a unique and rare high elevation forest, this is the highest point in Hampden County. Exciting improvements here will be a new kiosk and two lookouts at the summit.

An excerpt from Laurie’s report of what was found: hop hornbeam, ironwood, and red-berried elder, marginal shield fern, lady fern, Christmas fern, silvery spleenwort, NY fern, spinulose woodfern, baneberry, wild leek, early saxifrage, wild columbine, dutchman’s breeches, herb robert, red trillium, blue cohosh, Virginia watershield, jack-in-the-pulpit, false solomon’s seal, true solomon’s seal, white snakeroot, climbing buckwheat, shagbark hickory, Pennsylvania sedge, Canada mayflower, trout lily, starflower, wild sarsaparilla, chokecherry, striped maple, maple-leaved viburnum, witch hazel, and asters. At the summit of Roundhill is a classic (and gorgeous) example of a Hickory-Hop Hornbeam natural community, with its parklike understory of mostly sedges and occasional bunch grasses. The rocky balds are dominated by a mix of blueberry, common juniper and occasional meadowsweet.

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