A message to all of our New Canaan Land Trust Supporters:
Last week marked the beginning of the first session for our summer internship program. This summer’s first group is composed of Anna, Cooper, Elle, Jose, and Ned. Everyone arrived Monday morning eager to embrace their new positions with the land trust!
Day 1: Watson-Symington Preserve
We met at Watson-Symington Preserve on Monday morning and did the whole run down. We began the day with introductions, to become familiar with one another. The rest of the day was spent exploring the vast property and discussing a variety of topics:from safety measures, to history of the land trust, and even a lesson on plant identification. We talked about what to anticipate from this program as well as some personal expectations of the interns for the time they will be with NCLT.
Day 2: Silvermine-Fowler
Day two was spent at the Silvermine-Fowler preserve. Here we encountered a variety of habitats and quickly began getting to work. After a walkthrough of the property everyone was ready to get straight down to business. We spent the day performing a variety of tasks from trail lining, to cleaning debris from water diversion bars, as well as some removal of the invasive species, burning bush. We also briefly discussed pollination function and about a variety of pollinators since this property features a beautiful meadow. Also, we have a display featuring numerous birdhouses, with information corresponding to each species and their preferences. Since Silvermine-Fowler is host to such a diverse array of birds, we went into depth talking about some key species in the area.
Day 3: Bartlett Arboretum
Wednesday was our first excursion. We ventured to Bartlett Arboretum in neighboring Stamford. We were lucky enough to spend a little over an hour on a guided tour of the grounds. The property maintains a variety of flora from all over the world. This is no easy task! Everyone was inquisitive and awe inspired by their tremendous collection. After our tour concluded we ventured out on some of their walking trails to explore the areas we had not seen. Although the weather was a bit damp, our spirits were high. We then traveled to Irwin Park in town to discuss the invasive issue of Japanese Knotweed. Unfortunately, the goats that were featured in years past were not present in the park, but we still discussed their value as happy and hungry managers of invasive species. We also visited our neighboring GreenLink Trail to gain an understanding of how it contributes as a scenic connecting trail for the community. We wrapped it all up doing some journal exercises back in the office and reflected on the day’s activities.
Day 4: Firefly Sanctuary
Thursday was mostly spent at the Firefly Sanctuary. This location is entering the prime viewing season for the wonderful displays by thousands of fireflies each night. We discussed firefly varieties, lifecycles, and the value of the preserve while conducting our introductory walk through of the property. After that we got down to work. This property is relatively steep in portions and can lead to significant erosion if not properly maintained. Everyone was eager to mitigate this potential issue through the installation of several water diversion bars. With pickaxe, shovel, and hand our team eagerly chipped away and laid new cedar logs to act as gutters to to redirect water flow off the main path. While a little bit dirty, everyone enjoyed seeing the fruits of their labor. Additionally, we manicured the trail just before the meadow a bit. By removing some encroaching limbs of various shrubs, some invasive removal and even allowing everyone a turn with the weed whacker (utilizing face protection of course), we were able to spruce up the trail a bit while maintaining the natural beauty of the area.
Day 5: Back to Watson-Symington
We finished off the week back at Watson-Symington Preserve. After a long week of working hard, learning much about the land trust and associated properties, as well as local and invasive flora and fauna, the group already seemed like seasoned veterans as stewards of the land. We spent the day clearing water diversion bars, pulling weeds from our featured interactive sculpture, the stone labyrinth, lining the trails, and removing various invasive species. I was both proud and thoroughly impressed by everyones’ tremendous attitudes, effort, and desire to learn. Ultimately, Anna, Cooper, Elle, Jose, and Ned all are tremendous new additions to the New Canaan Land Trust and our 2022 summer internship program!