FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - New England Wild Flower Society and The Nature Conservancy are offering three opportunities in June to learn about the rare native plants of Eshqua Bog, a unique conservation site in Hartland, Vt., and about plans to improve access to it.

Jointly owned and managed by the Society and the Vermont chapter of TNC, this 40-acre sanctuary surrounds and protects an 8-acre wetland. Technically a fen rather than a bog, the preserve supports an unusually rich collection of rare orchid species including cottongrass (Eriophorum spp.), showy lady's-slipper (Cypripedium reginae), white northern bog-orchid (Platanthera dilatata), green bog-orchid (Platanthera huronensis), and yellow lady's-slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens).

Carnivorous plants such as pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea), round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), and Labrador-tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum) inhabit the more acidic, bog-like areas of the fen. A boardwalk through the middle of the fen allows visitors a close look at these unique plants, but the main attraction are the showy lady's-slippers, which are usually in full bloom in mid-June. "Eshqua Bog is truly one of the hidden gems of Vermont," says Debbi Edelstein, executive director of New England Wild Flower Society.

Adds Heather Furman, state director of The Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, "We are delighted about plans to improve the trail and boardwalk to offer more people with a range of physical capabilities the ability to enjoy this masterpiece of nature.


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If we are to protect biodiversity, it is so important that people can experience it in its full expression, as at Eshqua Bog."

On Saturday, June 14 from 1 - 4 p.m., Rose Paul, director of critical lands and conservation science, and Dan Farrell, conservation information manager, GIS specialist, and botanist for TNC, will lead walking tours of the Eshqua Bog Natural Area approximately every 30 minutes. Amanda Weise, ecological programs coordinator for the Society, will lead a tour of the Bog on Saturday, June 21, from 1-3 p.m. The entrance to Eshqua Bog is on Garvin Hill Road in Hartland, Vt. For directions, visit http://www.newenglandwild.org/visit/sanctuaries.

On Friday, June 20, from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., John Burns,Plant Conservation Volunteer Corps administration coordinator for the Society, will deliver a lecture entitled "Friends of Fens: The Rich Fen Species of Eshqua Bog," at the Hartland Public Library, which is co-sponsoring the event. The library is located at 153 Route 5, Hartland.

New England Wild Flower Society is dedicated to conserving and promoting the region's native plants to ensure healthy, biologically diverse landscapes. Founded in 1900, the Society is the nation's oldest plant conservation organization and a recognized leader in native plant conservation, horticulture, and education. The Society's headquarters, Garden in the Woods, is a renowned native plant botanic garden in Framingham, Massachusetts, that attracts visitors from all over the world. From this base, 25 staff and more than 700 volunteers work throughout New England to monitor and protect rare and endangered plants, collect and preserve seeds to ensure biological diversity, detect and control invasive species, conduct research, and offer a range of educational programs. The Society also operates a native plant nursery at Nasami Farm in western Massachusetts and has seven sanctuaries in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont that are open to the public.

Over the last 54 years, land protection has been the hallmark of the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. We've protected over 200,000 acres, including many of Vermont's iconic public lands such as Camel's Hump, Hunger Mountain, and Green River Reservoir. We own 56 natural areas across the state, conserving exemplary natural communities, native species, and natural systems. We care for these ecologically - significant places and provide public access to foster an understanding of our natural world. In addition, The Nature Conservancy is increasing the scale of conservation beyond protecting specific sites and working to protect the ecological functions of nature that support life, itself such as healthy watersheds and rivers and important landscapes that provide habitat connectivity.