Dear New Canaan Land Trust Supporters: We’re nearing the end! Despite the wilting heat, Beni, Alex, and Matt have maintained great attitudes and been hard workers all week.
For the second week in a row, we started our Monday off with a talk from an NCLT friend. This time it was member of the board Susan Bergen. Susan filled the interns in on the history of the meadow and the Fowler property. She introduced the interns to different native flowers (and some problematic weeds). Then we helped her tidy up the area a little bit. Everyone is excited to see how the meadow expansion project goes!
If you are a frequent trail visitor, you may have noticed some new boardwalks on two of our properties. Well, that’s because after our time with Susan, Land Steward Mike came to our rescue to move some very heavy boards closer Kelly Uplands. We spent the afternoon building boardwalks. Then we headed over to Colhoun where we again borrowed some of Mike’s strength to help us carry six heavy 16′ boards deep into the trail.
Tuesday was the fun part – where we got to build several boardwalks at Colhoun and made some improvements to some preexisting ones. For example, there had been a boardwalk with a significant amount of bounce midway through the wetlands section of that trail. The three interns, all on their own, worked together to provide extra support for that boardwalk while I was cutting up a fallen log that was blocking the trail. Please check out the awesome work this young crew did next time you are at Colhoun!
Everybody’s favorite day is our Wednesday field trip day! I am sure that’s partly because the interns just like having a day off from doing manual labor, but even more than that, they have really enjoyed all the different organizations and places we’ve been exploring. This week we started the morning in Wilton where we walked a chunk of the NRVT trail from the North parking lot to the Autumn Ridge Dr entrance and then walked across Sharp Hill to spend time with Liz Craig again. Liz is involved with the Norwalk River Valley Trail and graciously agreed to speak to both sessions of our interns about starting a public pollinator garden. She educated our interns on all the things to take into consideration when planning a pollinator garden project – like funding, volunteer management, publicity, site analysis, and more! We learned that native trees and shrubs are just as important to a pollinator garden are the wildflowers, and that it’s a bad idea to put plants that butterflies like right next to the road because they are very often killed by cars!
After our morning with Liz, we ventured north into unknown territories – Pound Ridge. The interns said that they had never really spent time in Pound Ridge (if at all) despite it being right across our northern border, which shocked me a little, so I made it a priority to spend some time up there. Our second stop of the day was to the Pound Ridge Nursery and Gardens, where we were given an informative tour about all the different aspects of their retail nursery and got to meet several members of their staff. Our interns got to feed the fish in their irrigation pond, which was an unexpected activity. And, on our a way to leave, they also generously gave us all little succulent plants to take home, even one for our Get About driver Dan!
We weren’t done in Pound Ridge for the day, though. We then headed to the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. None of the kids nor myself had been to the reservation before, though Dan had been there many times. It’s almost unfathomable to think that this huge 4,400 acre park is just a mere 30 minutes north of New Canaan. We only had a short amount of time to explore one section of trail in the park, but the kids got to learn that camping is available and how big the trail system is. I am hoping that this brief introduction into some of Westchester County’s offerings will encourage the kids and their families to take advantage of some of the amazing resources in New Canaan’s backyard!
Thursday was a scorcher! If you weren’t constantly checking the weather report like us, the 4pm “feels like” temperature said 112F! At those temps, it’s not safe for our interns to be working outside so we did some light work in the morning, mostly pulling burning bush over at Browne. In the afternoon, we migrated over to the air-conditioned office where we watched an NCLT webinar, got some information on the champion tree project, and had a presentation by Aaron on conservation mapping and NCLT priorities.
Friday was quite possibly my favorite day of the whole summer! Because of the extreme heat again, I wanted to take it easy and we managed to have a really fun and educational morning measuring trees at the Nature Center and Waveny. The measuring process took a long time and was challenging for some of the trees we selected, but we quickly became pros and worked out an efficient way to do it. We enjoyed our time under a big maple at Waveny, had lunch, and discussed a recent article about the damaging effects of light pollution. After that, I took the kids for a cold treat over at Swirl. Then it was back to the office to do our weekly wrap up – talk about everything we did this week and write our thank you notes. We finished the day off by playing a tree matching game, which we can’t wait to play again!
Thanks for reading our weekly report. Check back again this time next week to hear how the second session wrapped up!