I’m Peter, one of the two interns that started at the Land Trust last week, and I’m excited to provide an update for our first full week. On Monday, Gabe was unfortunately out, so I started the day by continuing to remove the invasive plant Garlic Mustard from the Silvermine-Fowler preserve. This species not only outcompetes and outspreads native ones, but actively disrupts their growth by releasing toxic chemicals. All of this makes it a particularly harmful plant, and thus something that we’re working on removing as much of as possible where we can.

Later in the day, I accompanied NCLT’s new Land Steward, Mike Pazareskis, as Aaron taught us the process for conducting a property inspection on lands owned by the Land Trust. In order to maintain national accreditation, the Land Trust has to inspect each of their properties at least once a year, making this a very important task. With over 60 properties to inspect, Mike certainly has a large task in front of him! While recuperating at home, Gabe finished up the task of going through and digitizing maps, showing the locations of birdhouses on Land Trust properties.

On Tuesday, with Gabe back in action, we had the opportunity to work with and learn from board member Beth Sanford on social media interaction and marketing. Be on the lookout on the NCLT Instagram for our posts! We also went through old trail cam photos in order to count the number of visitors to last year’s sculpture trail.

Wednesday, we began preparations for National Trails Day, which is on Saturday, June 5th (sign up on the events page!). The main project for the day will be constructing wooden walkways over parts of the trail at Colhoun preserve that get muddy, so we first determined where the walkways would go and conducted measurements to figure out how much lumber would be needed. That done, we loaded thirteen 16-foot planks into the truck and brought them to the preserve, then carried them to where we’d be building the walkways. It was tiring, but we’re looking forward to working with the volunteers on Trails Day to build the walkways with it.

On Thursday, we were able to finish up the removal of the Garlic Mustard at Silvermine-Fowler. Reclaiming this property with native plants is a big priority of the land trust, so hopefully the removal of a big invasive competitor will enable that work to progress more smoothly and rapidly. We rounded the day out by continuing to input old donation information into the Land Trust database.

Friday, we started a big project in the form of collating New Canaan real estate data in order to identify when properties of interest to the Land Trust come to market. As part of their 2040 strategic vision the Land Trust wants to double the amount of land that they have under protection, and have identified properties of interest to them in accomplishing that goal. With this information, they’ll be able to react quickly as properties come to market and fulfill their goal of conserving green space in New Canaan.