Dear New Canaan Land Trust supporters: Our flex week and first week of the second session just wrapped up. I have a feeling the next three weeks are going to fly by!
For the second session, we welcomed Matt, Alex, and Beni. All three of them have proven to be hardworking young people with sincere interests in nature. Matt started a little early and helped out during the flex week. He and our Land Steward Mike put in some new fencing over at the Firefly Sanctuary. Beni and Alex started during our scheduled first week and have been really curious about all the things we’ve seen and done so far.
On Monday, Alex and Beni worked with Mike to get to know the Watson-Symington property and built some fencing along the parking area to reach our northern trail entrance. Afterwards, they helped out with administrative tasks back at the office.
Tuesday was my first day with Beni and Alex and we spent our time together doing a lot of orientation activities while walking around Watson-Symington. We did tons of plant identification lessons, talked about trees, invasive plants, and even pulled some burning bush. Alex seems to have a keen eye for frogs and alerted us to many forest amphibians.
Wednesday was a fun day for all. Along with our Get About driver Dan, we headed back to the Bartlett Arboretum to meet up with Education Director Mike Belletzkie for a tour. Mike was able to cater the tour to Alex and Beni’s interests so it ended up being totally different than the tour with the first session. These two are very interested in wildlife and Mike showed them a very cool indoor demonstration beehive and some unusual animal artifacts. Their favorite plants at the gardens were the giant elephant ear and the extremely soft lambs ear. We spent the afternoon exploring the trail system and then headed over to Irwin Park.
Our driver, Dan, joined us for a brief walk to see the goats at Irwin Park. While there, I talked to the interns about how animals can be an important tool for managing landscapes and invasive plants. Everyone was impressed by how well the goats were consuming the Japanese knotweed. Hopefully their presence has a lasting effect at controlling that aggressive plant.
Thursday found us at Still Pond where we finished adding wood chips to the council ring by the meadow, pulled some burning bush, dug out pounds of ancient plastic trash, and even found a geo cache that was put there in early 2020 and doesn’t seem to have been found by anyone except us. Try to find it sometime!
The afternoon was a rare treat because the interns and I got to spend the whole afternoon with Executive Director Aaron. We picked up some lumber for new boardwalks and traveled to different properties to drop it off. We even had enough time to build two new boardwalks at the Oenoke Lane trail!
On Friday we started the day at Browne Preserve. We attempted to spend the morning pulling burning bush but were foiled by hive of angry wasps. We instead pivoted to getting some cedar logs for the boardwalks we will be building. We loaded logs up and drove back over to Still Pond. On the way we stopped at Hannan Field and admired the beautiful 80 year old dry stone wall and some butterflies dancing across the meadow. Once back at Fowler, we got to bucking up and clearing a large downed tree that had fallen across the trail. Then we cut up the cedar logs and started transporting them towards where we will be building boardwalks. The hardest part of building the boardwalks is definitely carrying all our heavy lumber and materials deep into the trails! Beni, Alex, and I were able to put together a small yet challenging boardwalk right as you leave the pond/meadow area and walk towards Kelly Uplands. Hope you will check out their handiwork!
As always, thanks for reading about our interns’ exploits. I look forward to sharing with you all the great work this session two crew is going to accomplish.