Mr. Nibbles, the Arboretum’s resident beaver, is well on his way to earning the alternate nickname of “Chainsaw.” Not content with his efforts to dam up the drain that connects our wetland to the Lower Blockston Branch, Nibbles has built an impressive lodge further upstream, complete with an adjacent flotilla of sticks for good eating throughout the winter months.
So far, Adkins Arboretum is sticking to its “live and let live” philosophy. Preventative measures against complete deforestation of the wetland include wrapping our most valued trees in chicken wire. Despite the destruction that beavers cause, they are an important keystone species. The pond habitats that their dams create provide habitat for a host of other wildlife.
To see signs of Mr. Nibbles’ activities—if not the elusive beaver himself—walk by the pyramid-shaped weir located at the edge of the wetland. Each week, Chesapeake Conservation Corps interns and the Arboretum’s Land Steward remove beaver-chewed branches from the weir. A mound of these branches is steadily growing. You may also cross the members-only bridge by the parking lot and look to the left; Mr. Nibbles’ lodge and flotilla of branches will be on the far bank.
By Jenny Houghton
Photos by Kellen McCluskey