Dear Supporters of the New Canaan Land Trust: 

Our NCLT Summer Steward Internship Program finished yet another amazing week, and we are shockingly now halfway through Session 1! This week, we had a mixture of challenging yet enjoyable trail maintenance and building, interesting lesson plans from guest speakers, and visitor tracking projects. In addition, we were able to end our jam packed week with an adventurous field trip Thursday afternoon, and got to take Friday, July 3rd off due to the holiday weekend! 

On Monday, Greg Faillaci, came to help us finish the Stone Wall at Hicks Meadow that is facing the road.

Our Interns worked very hard in carrying heavy stones as well as problem solving where each stone should be placed in order to make the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing wall. Greg gave us many stone wall building tips, as well as some interesting information on the history and significance of Stone Walls in New England. By noon, we had finished the middle section of the Stone Wall entirely- adding approximately 30 feet of stone wall with our bare hands!

 It was amazing to see where our determination and teamwork could lead us. After lunch, we worked on removing invasive vines from the trunks of the trees at Hicks Meadow, to prevent them from dying. We finished the day with a breezy and shady walk through all the Still Pond Preserve trails, making sure to maintain any parts that needed help and love along the way. 

On Tuesday, we started the morning off with a meadow and flower lesson from Susan, an avid Land Trust supporter and meadow caretaker. We learned a lot about the flowers, plants, and pollinators around us, which will be useful moving forward in having the knowledge of plant identification and biodiversity around the NCLT preserves. After this lesson, we began creating water bars on the Still Pond Preserve trails where needed. Coincidentally enough, it started unexpectedly pouring on us while working! However, the rain did not stop our determination to finish these water bars, rain coat protected or not. We had a lot of fun working and appreciating the downpour after the past two weeks of only working in dry heat conditions.

After lunch, in order to keep dry and shelter from the rain, we headed back to the office where I gave a lesson plan on Environmental Justice. Afterwards, we had an open discussion about the role our community, New Canaan, plays in benefiting from being surrounded by natural resources and additional environmental and health perks due to the race and class makeup of our town. 

Wednesday was an extremely jam packed day, but our interns handled it with extremely positive and motivated attitudes throughout the entirety of our 6 hour day. We started the day off at Still Pond Preserve, finishing all the water bars. Once finished, we weeded Fowler Meadow, as well as collecting any trash on the trails we ran into. We spent the late morning pruning all of the branches on the Hicks Meadow trees that were five feet and below, in order for our lawnmower to safely and productively come through without any branch blockage. Between hand sawing countless thick branches to collecting and piling them, this was intensive and challenging work that all of our interns handled extremely well. We took minimal breaks, as we knew we had another big project in the afternoon that we really wanted to get to. After finishing this job, we tackled our next project, of visitor tracking, which everyone was eager to begin, including myself! We went to all NCLT preserves that had sculpture installations to collect the SD cards from our visitor tracking cameras. After, we went back to the office to begin counting visitors from the pictures taken. This proved to be a tedious project yet one that all of our interns enjoyed as well. Our Greenlink Trail got over 106 visitors for one day, which proves to be our record so far!

On Thursday, we met at the office to computer work and continue visitor logging, which was a nice, needed break from working in the sun all week. We were pleased to see how many people were visiting our trails and appreciating the sculpture installations! Here are some of the cool shots gathered from our trail cams: 

If you have not done so already, be sure to check out the sculpture installations!! After we finished visitor logging, we embarked on our first field trip! We spent the afternoon in Redding, Connecticut at Saugatuck Falls and Hardwood Trail Loop, and completed a moderate 3.4 mile hike while we compared and contrasted our NCLT preserves to the preserves in other towns. This was a great experience and field trip to celebrate being officially halfway through Session 1. Throughout the next two weeks, we are all eager to finish out Session 1 just as strong as we started it. Stay tuned for more project completions, fun pictures, and adventures!