by John Galluzzo
Daniel Webster, the great statesman and orator, once owned a large swath of Marshfield land, but not just because he wanted to prove his worth to folks on the outside. He was a "gentleman farmer" when not speechifying or otherwise doing the work of the federal government, at times an experimenting farmer. He walked his land with none other than John James Audubon, to understand and enjoy the wildlife living thereon.
A century and a half removed from his passing, Webster's land - at least 500 acres of it - has been preserved as open space, purchased by Mass Audubon, New England's largest land conservation organization and maintained much in the same way that Webster kept it, save for one small fact.
And that's what one mostly sees on the two miles of walking trails that meander through the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary. There are two red maple swamps, a raised oak hummock, Webster Pond, the Green Harbor River and a manmade "wet panne" complete with bookending observation blinds, but the grasses are the star of the show.
As you walk the land today, know that Daniel Webster would be proud to see his land so preserved - even if he might not recognize it in its current conditions!
End of Winslow Cemetery Road, Marshfield
For more information:
Mass Audubon South Shore Sanctuaries