Dear supporters of the New Canaan Land Trust: The New Canaan Land Trust 2022 Summer Internship Program has come to a conclusion. This summer came and went in no time as our teams worked together and bonded over the various projects, workshops, and excursions. The session 2-stewards built a strong connection over the course of four weeks and accomplished a tremendous amount all while learning along the way. Here is a recap of our final two weeks together.
Stewarding Our Most Popular Preserve
Astounded at how quickly we had entered the second half of our session, the internship team kicked off Monday performing a variety of tasks at Watson-Symington Preserve. Watson-Symington is our most frequented preserve and there is always something to be done around the property. Our interns did an excellent job stepping up to assume the roles of stewards and wasted no time getting to the projects in store for the remainder of the program. Throughout the day the group moved cedar logs for projects in store, tidied up the trails, and resumed their efforts in completing the new segment of trail for the West road access point. With positive attitudes, the group worked effectively and kicked off the week in fantastic style.
Sound Water Excursion
Tuesday’s arrival switched up the typical flow of a week for the team. The group’s excursion to Sound Waters was set one day early compared to other field trips. A visit to the beach was a welcomed event, as this particular Tuesday was quite the hot one.
The trip was prefaced with a video introduction concerning the formation of the Long Island Sound and a discussion about the value of protecting local watersheds. The stewards even utilized a map to determine where their homes are positioned in relation to local watersheds.
Upon arrival, the team joined instructor Autumn for a morning of discovery. Our interns were quickly suited up in waders and outfitted with nets. The morning was spent in the shallows collecting organisms for identification and observation. The knowledge shared by educator, Autumn, made for quite the informative experience. The remained of the day was used to explore the local environment at Cove Island Park and then it was back to the office to finish out with a few more educational videos and discussion of the day. The Sound Waters visit, once again, proved to be a valuable educational and enjoyable opportunity.
Trail Maintenance All in One Day: Colhoun Preserve, Still Pond Preserve, and the Firefly Sanctuary, and Watson-Symington Preserve
Wednesday arrived and it was back to tackling the agenda. On this day, the group needed to do some assessment-related activities. The day began at Colhoun Preserve where some needed pruning and weed whacking occurred. Part of our team’s goal is to ensure the continued enjoyment of our preserves by our community members. General upkeep and maintenance of preserves is always a valuable effort put forth by our stewards.
Following the completion of encroachment management, our team ventured off the path for a bit. Their efforts were to evaluate the potential expansion of trails for future projects. With keen eyes and imaginative ‘envisionment’ of trails-to-be, the team assessed the area and discussed potential improvements and obstacles.
Afterward, the team traveled to the Cedar Lane entrance of Still Pond Preserve. Our goal was to assess the status of signage along the Kelley Uplands segment of the property. After a brief walkthrough and evaluation, it was onto the next site, the Firefly Sanctuary.
Since the Firefly Sanctuary is highly trafficked throughout the summer by observers of the displays of fireflies, our team set out to mark off the site of future trial-side railings. We hope to provide as much accessibility and accommodation as we can for those who choose to enjoy our preserves and felt that this upcoming project, to be completed as an Eagle Scout project, would go a long way to assist with ease of access. The team assessed the most needed locations for railings and measured then marked out positions for future placement. Once done, the remainder of the day was spent working at the West Road trail site again.
Clearing a Fallen Tree from the Favorite Firefly Sanctuary
Thursday of this week was a big day. The day began with the purchase of a new wheelbarrow, an essential tool for various jobs. After acquiring the new equipment it was back to the Firefly Sanctuary. Earlier in the summer a large tree had fallen in the back of the preserve and obstructed some portion of one of the property’s access points. With that tree cut into segments, it was time to move the large wood pile out of the way. Working together, the team loaded the wheelbarrow and carted off the logs into the woods adjacent to the meadow.
Future fireflies and other insects will utilize the decomposing wood for years to come. This was quite the task as the team moved some segments weighing in at well over a hundred pounds! As the stewards wrapped that task up, some wood was set aside for the interns to bring home for firewood as a small thanks for a job well done.
Yup, Trail Cam Maintenance
Then it was time to check on some trail cameras. The team moved to one of our preserves where two trail cameras were previously installed to document one of our Sculpture Trail features. The team removed the two cameras so that batteries could be recharged and placed another in their place. This task was quick, after getting everything squared away it was time to wrap up our ongoing project.
Completion of New Trail Segment: Watson-Symington Preserve
The team returned to the newly forged segment of the West Road trail access point for finishing touches. With axes, rakes, pruning saws, loppers, and determination our team transformed this location from dense overgrowth to a beautiful new segment of trail. The hard work over several weeks of daily activities was complete. The new segment of the trail stands as a testament to the efforts of the intern team. The group stood proudly at the site and reminisced over the complete transformation that had occurred here. The day ended with a strong sense of pride throughout the group.
We wrapped up the week with a discussion on pollinators. Board member Susan Bergen graciously provided the instruction talk at Silvermine-Fowler Meadow. Susan shared her knowledge of local pollinators, flowers, and the roles of various species. Meanwhile we explored the area. and noted any pollinators paying a visit at the time.
The Important Job of Watering the Silvermine-Fowler Meadow
Afterward, the team paid their final visit of the session to the New Canaan Fire Department and received assistance filling a large water tank. The group returned and provided the meadow with a healthy soaking of water in the absence of rain. T
Week 3 is a Wrap
The remainder of the day was ‘laxer’ as we prepared to say an early goodbye to intern, Andrew. Andrew needed to return home to Maryland the following week. Hence, the team did a sendoff with a large pizza and an afternoon of new learning. We learned about the interesting history of the Eastern White Pine and its contribution as a commodity during the beginning years of our country.
The day ended with the interns saying their goodbyes to Andrew and wishing him all the best. Our week 3 of the session came and went quickly and the final week 4 was soon to arrive.
Carol Paik and an Upcycling Lesson
Our final week began a bit differently than weeks prior. With a reduced group size, we paid a visit to Pound Ridge to the studio of local artist, Carol Paik. Carol is a creative mind who utilizes what would otherwise be discarded materials to create entirely new works of art. She spent the morning sharing some of her ideas and engaged the group in a discussion about pollution and wastefulness. We discussed the possible solutions to the litter that we often find on our preserves.
Back to Watson-Syminton Preserve
After interacting with Carol’s art, we said goodbye and returned to begin the other activities for the day. We briefly organized the tools we used throughout the session back at the office. After, we loaded up the truck and headed for Watson-Symington Preserve where we did some general maintenance and wrapped up with raking of our featured stone labyrinth. The final week was off to a solid start.
Work on Hawkins Preserve Stone Wall
Tuesday was another day dedicated to a variety of tasks. We began by cutting up some cedar to be used in upcoming projects as we waited for one of our team to arrive. Once all together, the stewards traveled to Hawkins Preserve where there has been an ongoing stone wall restoration project.
We utilized our new wheelbarrow as well as one generously left by a friend of the Land Trust, Greg Faillaci, to move over a significant portion of stone to be used. As progress was made on the wall there was a greater need for quickly accessible stone. Thus, we needed to move the piles from previous segments of the wall that were being worked on to new areas that are being rebuilt. This was no easy task and some stones moved were quite hefty. However, the dedication of the team was not defeated and the group made quick work of the task.
The day was finished out cutting the remainder of the cedar from the morning and doing some clearing of water diversion bars.
Final Field Trip: Fairgate Farm & Stamford Nature Center
Wednesday was our final field trip day. The group paid a visit to Fairgate Farm in Stamford.
Fairgate Farm is a volunteer-driven community farm in Stamford and provided a valuable experience for our interns as they engaged with a modern urban farming approach.
The stewards spent the morning assisting the farm manager, Pete. The group began with sorting cherry tomatoes that would be sold at their community farm stand. After, the team assisted with weeding and stringing up tomato plants to ensure their continued productivity. The time at the farm concluded with the interns helping to plant seeds for the final harvest of the year. As we thanked Pete he was kind enough to provide each intern with their own pint of fresh cherry tomatoes.
The remainder of the day was spent at the Stamford Nature Center where the interns engaged with a more traditional example of a New England farm and explored some of the site’s trail systems.
Reminiscing and Revisiting Projects
Thursday was the second to last day for our group. The team members requested that a final couple of days be spent reminiscing and visiting some of their past projects. The day began at Colhoun Preserve where they did a walk-through and helped set up for another upcoming Eagle Scout project. The rest of the day was spent traveling to a few other preserves. The group finished out by watching several videos by Tom Wessels about reading the forested landscapes of New England and its historical contexts.
Ultimately, the final day of the session arrived. The group all expressed their disbelief at how quickly time had passed. The second session of the 2022 New Canaan Land Trust internship program was coming to an end. However, before the stewards said their goodbyes, the day was spent going from preserve to preserve and continuing to reminisce about the experiences of the program.
The final day flew by as the team traveled the properties and revisited all of their dedicated efforts. Soon enough the end of the day was upon us and the interns said their final goodbyes. The summer internship program had come to an end.
Thank You Session 2 Summer Stewards
A tremendous thank you is in order for Andrew, Lucas, James, and Matthew, our 2022 session 2 interns. It is their hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm that led to the outstanding success of our second session. Their efforts go on to be enjoyed by the whole of the community at our preserves.
Over the course of 4 weeks, they formed a bond and were able to come together to accomplish a variety of tasks and engage in educational opportunities. We at the New Canaan Land Trust are abundantly appreciative of the efforts of our interns. Additionally, thank you for the continued support and encouragement from the remainder of our community. The New Canaan Land Trust is proud to report the successes of the summer and we look forward to all the things to come! The 2022 Summer Internship Program was an outstanding success and we look forward to another successful year come 2023! We wish you all the best!