Welcome to the Jungle

The FM Guide to Nature at Harvard

The Square is certainly full of fun and games, but at first glance, it seems that the only jungle in Harvard’s reach is that of the urban variety. But Rob Gogan, Recycling and Waste Manager for Facilities Maintenance Operations (FMO), seeks to prove skeptics wrong. Since including a sighting of a red-tailed hawk as a postscript to one of his monthly e-mail recycling updates, Gogan, who offers nature walks by appointment, has been flooded with e-mails boasting of wildlife sightings around campus. The following is but a smattering of the places in which one might find indigenous, often overlooked flora and fauna in and around campus, courtesy of Gogan himself.

Quincy St.

After rainfall, garden snails emerge from the ivy growing alongside the fence on Quincy St., where they face the dangers of passing feet and drying out in the glare of the ferocious Cambridge sun.  Students are encouraged to move them gently back into the undergrowth.

Tercentenary Theatre/Lamont

The group of mushroom shaped crab-apple trees on the route between Lamont and Tercentenary Theatre bear especially fragrant flowers.  Allegedly, these trees were supposed to be removed some years back, but a photo published in a Tercentenary issue of Harvard Magazine saved them.

Widener Library

In late fall, just about the only flowers blooming are witch hazel, found near the Mass. Ave Widener entrance.  These fragrant yellow beauties also hover around Mallinckrodt behind the Science Center.

JFK & Memorial Dr.

According to Gogan, come May, there is almost certainly an osprey or two to be seen above this intersection and the Charles River.  They come to feast on the migrating Alewifes, as well as perch, carp and sunfish in the river.

Charles River

More than just a T-stop, alewife are a variety of river herring that swim up the Charles River to spawn each Spring.  Onlookers from the river bank beside Anderson Bridge get a prime view of the fish breaking the surface. Also, the presence of fresh-water clams in the water signal improving water quality.

Weld Boathouse

According to Gogan, white-crowned herons nest under the Radcliffe crew’s dock each spring.  Mallard ducks and Canada geese also find a home in the vicinity.