Dear Supporters of the New Canaan Land Trust: 

We all cannot believe how quickly the Summer Stewardship program is flying by, as we only have one week left in our first session! The interns have been continuing to give it their all through their physical hard work and positive attitudes; week three was yet another success for us and the Land Trust. On Monday, we started the week off at the Browne Preserve, which was our first time visiting this property together. We spent the morning with Aaron cutting down dead cedar trees that we will utilize for future projects such as walkways, water bars, and more. The rot-resistant wood of the cedar is perfect for these types of projects.

After a morning of heavy log lifting, we took a minute to admire the thirty or so logs we have stacked and the beautiful pinks that make up the inside cedar trunks. We continue to learn how Cedar is the most effective wood to use for projects as they prove to be much more rot resistant than other wood. We spent the rest of the afternoon maintaining the trails at Browne, weed wacking and pruning many branches and plants that had overgrown onto the trail. As most of our projects have been located at Still Pond Preserve so far, the interns thoroughly enjoyed getting to experience and work on a new NCLT property. 

On Tuesday, we started our day at Still Pond Preserve to check in on and water the Fowler Meadow. The plants have grown exponentially, and that was amazing for us to see and recognize! After tending to the meadow and doing some light trail maintenance work on our newly established Cedar Lane trail, we headed back to Browne to finish trail maintenance projects. We were able to install two new water bars that will help to reduce erosion on our trails during heavy rain storms. After finishing, we walked all the trails, pruning branches where needed, weed whacking overgrown areas, removing invasive species, and more! We ended the day feeling accomplished that all the Browne trails got maintained by us, and that people will be able to walk them more safely and comfortably now.

On Wednesday, we spent the morning watering all of the plants outside of Fowler Meadow and removing invasive species that were threatening the existence of these plants. Everyone got a turn on the hose, and did an excellent job making sure plants that have a lot of overhead tree coverage, and do not received as much rain water, got watered. After we finished watering, we headed over to Livingston Higley to remove invasive vines from the iconic stone wall in the center of the meadow. We moved quickly and successfully, being able to finish 75% of the stonewall before an afternoon thunderstorm rolled in. We spent the remaining hour of the day back at the office, writing “A Letter to the Editor” paragraphs about our experiences interning with NCLT so far.

On Thursday, everyone showed up at 9am with extra bright faces and smiles, because we were going on a field trip! We drove to Southbury and visited the Cascade, Tulip, Beaver, and River Trail at the Audubon Center Bent of the River. This is a 700 acre preserve that has a mission of land conservation and biodiversity promotion. We learned about the bird species living in this preserve and how habitat loss is the most crucial threat facing all bird populations across America, and a reality that is ever evolving due to climate change, and therefore what the Audubon Center’s tactics were for land preservation and species conservation. After our four mile hike, we ate lunch by the river that followed a trip to Ferris Acres Creamery- a homemade farm based ice cream shop in Newtown. All interns gave the day a five star rating, with myself included!

On Friday, due to the unsafe weather conditions expected, we had our first remote working day! The interns spent the first half of their day finishing up their “Letter To The Editor” paragraphs and worked on brainstorming ways to improve the NCLT website. After, I was assigned a choice of two environmental justice documentaries to watch, those two being “Rise” and “There’s Something In The Water”. The interns completed written reflections from prompts I provided, which we will discuss and share with one another the following week. Overall, this week flew by and I cannot believe that next week will be my last week working with Session 1, but I am so grateful for the projects we have been able to accomplish and friendships we were able to have made, and that we have one more week together!