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Dear supporters of the New Canaan Land Trust and Waveny Park Conservancy,

Today marks the end of our third week with the Session 2 interns. This week, we focused on habitat and resource conservation. We realized these lessons through our projects and educational opportunities.

On Monday, we worked with NCLT Board Member, Susan Bergen. Susan shared her passion for pollinators and the natural environment with our interns by helping us install seven new bluebird nesting boxes across our properties. Susan assisted the interns and I by recommending the placement of the boxes to best benefit the birds. Originally, many of the boxes on NCLT properties were in locations that were not suitable for the bluebirds. These locations included parking lots, and areas near American Kestrel nesting boxes. By removing the nesting boxes from these dangerous areas, we hope to promote higher rates of blue bird inhabitation. We also placed nest box baffles on the opening of the nesting boxes to prevent rodents and snakes from entering the box and eating baby bluebirds or unhatched eggs. Ultimately, bluebirds control insect populations in our meadows and add to the beauty of our properties. We are so thankful to Susan for taking the time to work with us, and for donating the necessary equipment to make this project happen.

On Tuesday, the rain forced us indoors. The interns wrote a donor letter that will be used for Waveny Park Conservancy supporters. In addition to this, the interns watched a documentary on water scarcity and conservation, along with a documentary on marine life conservation. These documentaries prepared the interns for our Wednesday field trip to Long Island Sound.

On Wednesday, we met with Friends of Sherwood Island board member, Michele Sorensen, and Nature Center Director, Kallie Fellows, at Sherwood Island. We began our day with Michele, Melanie, and Pat, who taught us about the dune restoration projects at Sherwood Island. The interns identified native and invasive species, removed patches of phragmites, and discussed the importance of conserving the dune habitat. Often times when people visit the beach, they trample the beach grass and disrupt the habitat for pollinators. From today’s work, we hope the interns pass along the mission to preserve the native ecosystem along the coast. Following our morning with Michele, we met with Kallie and the Sherwood Island Nature Center interns. Kallie walked us through the touch tank in the nature center and explained how invasive crab species have dominated the ecosystem and have threatened native crab species. The interns enjoyed taking a closer look at all the animals located in the Nature Center. This experience also taught them how to properly handle and observe these animals when they are encountered. After our time at the visitor center, the interns took us down to the water and showed us how to sein. This was a unique experience for our interns, many of whom had fq never fished before. We are thankful to the Friends of Sherwood Island for including us in their day and for helping to design such a wonderful program for our interns. After lunch, we traveled to the Connecticut Audubon Society in Fairfield, CT. We explored the property and took a closer look at the birds of prey. Much of what we try to do at NCLT is provide a safe habitat where birds of prey can balance the ecosystem. Experiences like this help our interns learn more about each of these species.

On Thursday, the interns began their day at the Colhoun Preserve along Davenport Ridge Road. We rerouted trails and began to set the foundation for raised walkways on the property. When wasps made the area unsafe, we directed our attention to other areas of the property. We cleared overgrowth from the main trail through the meadow. This trail connects visitors from our parking area to the Colhoun woodlands. Now that it is more accessible, more people will be able to enjoy the property. The interns also defined the trail boundaries in the woodlands, which helps our visitors follow the path and ensure our guests are safe when visiting Colhoun. These efforts allow us to host events on our properties, such as the Wildlife in Crisis rehabilitated fox release at Colhoun on August 15th. The maintenance on this property allowed everyone to have a great time. You can read more about this event here: https://newcanaanite.com/a-second-shot-at-life-orphaned-foxes-released-at-local-land-preserve-1619102. Following our work at Colhoun, the interns moved to Watson-Symington Preserve along Wellesley Drive. There, the interns cleared water bars and removed patches of burning bush and garlic mustard. Since Watson-Symington is one of our most used properties, we try our best to make sure the property is as polished as possible. 

On Friday, the interns began their day at Waveny Park watering and tending to the newly planted Kousa dogwoods. We gave the trees space to grow upwards and put in a crutch to help support some of the heavier tree limbs. Kousa dogwoods attract pollinators and will enhance the ecosystem down by the pond. Following this, the interns went to the meadow and cleared phragmites and artemisia from the trails within the meadow. These invasive outcompete the native understory, so we have tried our best to limit their growth. At lunch, Maura Craig, mother of intern Jack Craig, and active member of the New Canaan Garden Club, ordered pizza for the interns. We are very thankful for her support and kind words for the program. We continued to clear invasives around the perimeter of the park, and then we ended the day by conducting more visitor surveys.

Today marks the last day for intern, Jack Craig. We are thankful to his dedication to the program and wish him the best of luck for his upcoming school year. We only have one more week left of the Summer Steward Internship program, and we are beginning to finalize our last few projects. Thank you again to Susan Bergen, Michele Sorensen, Kallie Fellows, and Liz Ann Koos for working with us and for coordinating great educational opportunities for the interns.

Listed below is a tentative schedule for next week:

08/19/2019- 08/23/2019

Monday (08/19)- work on NCLT property

  • Meet at Hicks Meadow at 9 am.
  • Stone wall work with Greg Faillaci.
  • Baffles on nesting boxes with Susan Bergen.
  • Pickup at NCLT office at 2 pm.

Tuesday (08/20)- work at Waveny Park

  • Meet at Waveny House at 9 am.
  • Stone wall work with Greg Faillaci.
  • Stream bed clearing.
  • Pickup at Waveny House at 2 pm.

Wednesday (08/21)- Field trip

  • Meet at NCLT office at 8:50 am
  • Wolf Conservation Center at 9:30 am 
    • 7 Buck Run, South Salem, NY
    • https://nywolf.org
  • Trailside Nature Museum at ~11:00 am
  • Ward Pound Ridge following Trailside Nature Museum
    • 6 Reservation Rd, Pound Ridge, NY
    • https://parks.westchestergov.com/ward-pound-ridge-reservation
  • Pickup at NCLT office at 2 pm.

Thursday (08/22)- work on NCLT property

  • Meet at Colhoun Preserve at 9 am.
    • Raised walkways and general maintenance.
  • Water plantings at Silvermine-Fowler.
  • Pickup at Colhoun Preserve at 2 pm.

Friday (08/23)- work at Waveny Park

  • Meet at Waveny House at 9 am.
    • General park maintenance
    • Visitor surveys
    • New planting care
  • Cut kindling.
  • Pickup at Waveny House at 2 pm.

For questions or comments regarding our Summer Steward Internship program, or any of our Summer programming, please email kelly@newcanaanlandtrust.org. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@NC_Land_Trust) for more updates!