Totally Tubular

by Haley Hewitt

At the beginning of my service term at the East Quabbin Land Trust, my supervisor Cynthia Henshaw expressed an interest in placing art installations at the Land Trust properties. From then on, the cogs in my head started turning.

At the Mandell Hill Preserve we have a beautiful sixteen-foot tall birding platform, from which you have clear views of Mount Wachusett and of the grassland birds living on the property.

In one of the EQLT barns I found a pile of old PVC pipes. Inspiration struck! I brought them home. I built a scale miniature version of the platform to test out designs.

I cut the PVC pipes lengthwise on a table saw.

I scrubbed the pipes of their spider webs and farm grime, then I spray painted each piece a different color.

Then I loaded the pipes into my Mini Cooper to take them down to Mandell Hill!

I attached the pipes to the birding platform using a creative array of clamps and bungee cords to hold them in place while I attached the struts.

With the pipes on, I installed a bucket-and-pulley system, several baseballs, and a small step for little feet.

And the project is complete! Since putting this up, many families have told me they make a trip to this preserve just to play with the ball drop. The installation is free and open to the public at Mandell Hill Preserve on 645 Barre Road in Hardwick MA. Now we just need to think of a good name for it!

Haley served as a Youth Education Coordinator at East Quabbin Land Trust for TerraCorps 2018-2019