The Wrack is our collective logbook on the web. Here you will find hundreds of articles on myriad topics, all tied to these two thousand acres of protected coastal land and the yesteryear cluster that lends them identity.
Why "The Wrack"? In its cycles of ebb and flow, the sea transports a melange of weed, shell, bone, feather, wood, rope, and trash from place to place, then deposits it at the furthest reach of spent surf. This former flotsam is full of interesting stuff for anybody who cares to kneel and take a look. Now and then, the line of wrack reveals a treasure.
Mentioned Paul Dest
The Reserve's big beech has always been referred to by staff, Laudholm Trust members, and visitors as the copper beech, but the family that lived here throughout most of the 20th century preferred another name. "We always referred to it as the purple beech tree," says Nathaniel Lord.
Which is correct, purple or copper?
Appearing as wide as it is tall, the Wells Reserve's copper beech tree is a dominant presence on the campus, commanding the same respect from many of our visitors as the human-made historic structures or other natural features on the property. As befits a tree with such stature, the Reserve's beech has an interesting cultural and natural history.
This "History of the Project" was written by Mort Mather around the time the Wells Reserve was dedicated in 1986. Some minor formatting has been done to the originally typewritten document.
Interest in having the land now encompassed within the bounds of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve preserved for the public good dates back to the early 1960s. At that time the value of salt marshes was beginning to be more fully understood. Studies showed that two-thirds of the commercially important fish depend in some stage in their lives on estuaries. Estuaries are also important areas for commercial development; as the population increases scenic areas near water are under increased pressure for residential development. In the sixties man-made development was filling marshes at an alarming rate. If left unchecked, this development would do serious damage to our fisheries and eliminate most of the coastal habitat for wildlife, endangering more and more species.
This wish goes back a ways. Laudholm Trust's first president requested it, and followed up once or twice in letters to members. The Trust deeply appreciates all of its many kind donors — some of whom have been very generous — but we have yet to receive a million dollars "in one clump" (as bookkeeper Karen might say).
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