Dear Stewards, Parents, Members, and Land Trust Supporters,
We are three quarters of the way through our first session of the Summer Steward Program! We have had a fun and productive week with our first field trip and our first stone wall workshop, with local stone mason, Greg Faillaci. It’s hard to believe we are almost at the end of our first session! Thank you, Stewards for your hard work thus far!
On Monday, we worked at the Browne Preserve along Valley Road. The interns pruned and cleared about a quarter mile of the trail, removing obstructing rocks, branches and roots, to increase accessibility. They removed new growth of invasive Euonymus, or “burning bush”. Removing the plant at this early stage will reduce its ability to grow back, which ultimately will help native plant species thrive in the ecosystem, and increase biodiversity. The interns also collected cedar logs, freshly cut by our Executive Director, and brought them to the trailhead for use in future stewardship and Scout projects.
On Tuesday, the interns moved to Waveny Park. The main project for the day was to learn to identify and subsequently remove invasive Japanese Barberry, as well as Euonymus. Using the branches of the freshly cut invasive shrubs, the interns created four wildlife brush piles off of the trail. These brush piles will provide a potential shelter and food source for small mammals, insects, and some birds. A few interns watered the Swamp White Oak sapling and later in the day, continued to collect visitor surveys.
On Wednesday, we went on our first field trip of the 2018 Program. The first stop was to Highstead, a conservation and ecology research station, where the interns learned about the differing geology of the property, and how that affects the vegetation. The interns also learned how Highstead is working to conserve landscapes from the approach of global biodiversity. At Wildlife In Crisis, the largest wildlife rehabilitation center in the state, the interns were able to observe animals in various stages of rehabilitation, including Flying Squirrel and various birds, like the Barred Owl and Screech Owl. They also learned about Rachel Carson, and the danger that some chemicals we continue to use on our landscapes today pose a threat to the well-being of wildlife, preventing some animals from being able to be released back into the wilderness. Finally, we visited a section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, where we enjoyed some ice cream and discussed the different definitions of open space, and how different organizations approach conservation. Wednesday night, I hosted a short night hike at the Firefly Preserve for the Stewards and their families to showcase the Stewards’ progress and the firefly show!
Thursday, we worked at Waveny Park with local stone mason, Greg Faillaci, to clear and rebuild 20 feet of the southernmost section of the dry rock wall of Waveny along Lapham Road. The reconstruction is important to ensure that the wall will remain in place for centuries to come, to preserve history. The interns also learned how and why rock walls were built by farmers when the Waveny property was once a pasture one hundred and fifty to one hundred years ago. Other projects included collecting surveys and removing Euonymus and Japanese Barberry. To avoid watering the Swamp White Oak tree sapling at high noon, after our workshop with Greg, I watered the sapling Friday evening.
Friday, we worked at NCLT’s Livingston–Higley Preserve at the end of Apple Tree Lane. They widened and pruned most of the trail, to increase accessibility and visitation. While at the site, the interns had the opportunity to observe the native honey bee hives that are managed by the New Canaan bee Foundation, and learned a bit about the ecology and importance bees as well.
This coming week, the tentative schedule will be as follows:
07/16/18- Colhoun*- Addition of the dry rock wall at the entrance, extending towards Stamford.
07/17/18- Waveny Park- Restore wildlife habitat
07/18/19- Field Trip- Wolf Conservation CenterTrailside Nature MuseumWard Pound Ridge
07/19/19- Stillpond-Silvermine Preserve**- De-vine Cedar trees in Hicks MeadowPrune trail
07/20/19- Waveny Park- Restore wildlife habitat
*The parking area is on the north side of Davenport Ridge Road, between Skyview Lane and Thornridge Drive.
** Drop off and pick up will be at the trailhead that is across from 161 Cedar Lane.
There are many great things to come in the weeks ahead. Until then, please keep in touch with the Land Trust by email or at NewCanaanLandTrust.org, and also on Facebook and Instagram (@NC_Land_Trust).
Madeline E. Gould
NCLT Summer Steward Program Coordinator