Authors: Richard Ettinger and Kelly Flannery

It’s safe to say that time has flied by the past three weeks I’ve spent as an intern with the New Canaan Land Trust. I’ve acquired an incredible amount of hands on experience, as well as learned a ton about NCLT just from short span of time i’ve spent with the organization.

Seeing as next week will be mostly rainy, we tried to spend these past few sunny days outdoors. We kicked off the week on Monday by sending out emails to supporters of the land trust, thanking them for being such great patrons and asking them questions regarding why they continue to support NCLT and our efforts to preserve open spaces. The goal for this project was to use their responses to advocate for our organization and incorporate their responses onto our website and newsletters. In addition, we allocated some of our time on Monday to clean up the Calitri-Kravenewsky trail in town. This required us to clear part of a tree that was blocking access, as well as clear invasive species that had started to grow into and on the trail.

On Tuesday, we started off the day by writing and sending out “Thank You” emails to those supporters who had already gotten back to us with their responses to our questions. After we had finished up, we proceeded to the Silvermine-Fowler Property to water the native plants that we had built and set cages around two weeks ago. Following that, we had made our way to Firefly Sanctuary on Sleepy Hollow Road to inspect the trail. While we were there, we explored the property and took note of things that we could do to better the walkability of the trail. This helped us prepare for Thursday because our plan was to bring our tools and start working on it the next morning. We were informed that the guided firefly tours would be lead through the property around dusk, and so we knew that with limited visibility, this trail had to be as polished as possible so that people on the tour would be able to make it through the property with ease.

Wednesday was a day of hardwork spent entirely outdoors. We set out to clear the Firefly Sanctuary trail in the morning, following the notes that we had written up for it the previous day. We removed large rocks from the trail, cleared invasive plants that had started to grow on the trail, and even reestablished a path through the field that had become overgrown. After spending the morning cleaning up the Firefly Sanctuary trail, we made our way over to Hick’s Meadow where Mr. Lefland explained our next task. Our job was to cut and clear the bottom sets of limbs of the cedar trees in the meadow. He explained to us that once a year, the meadow had to be mowed to preserve the type of ecosystem that had become established in the open field.

What does that have to do with cutting the limbs of the Cedar Trees? He pointed to a tree that had become overgrown with vines. He informed us that when they clear the meadow, the mower to get as close to the base of the cedars as possible so that they wipe out whatever invasive species are present. If this fails to occur, those invasive species become free to grow and end up killing the cedars which are heavy supporters of the meadow ecosystem present. Accordingly, we spent the rest of the day chopping, sawwing, and dragging limbs of the Cedar Trees with the thought in mind that we were saving the trees, the meadow, and its ecosystem.


After a long day of work outdoors on Wednesday, we spent Thursday primarily indoors. I spent some of my time writing the weekly blog, and we started to work on enhancing the NCLT website. This included updating the “FAQ” section with relevant questions and answers that we might expect one would have for our land trust, and land trusts in general. It also included writing “Preserve Profiles” which includes information about/ descriptions of our properties, as well as what has being going on at each one. We had sent two of our interns to go with Kelly and Aaron to do a “Carpool Karaoke” hosted by Staying Put in New Canaan, which they’re doing with a bunch of organizations in the town.

For Friday, we started off our last day of the week by attending the weekly Advertiser Coffee at the New Canaan Historical Society. It was very interesting to sit in on the discussion of members and representatives of the town, with this week’s main focus being on the economic matters pressing the state of Connecticut. After coming back from the Historical Society, interns Julen and Hans headed to the Watson-Symington Preserve to hang new kiosk signs to promote the use of Avenza Maps, an application which has all of NCLT’s maps downloadable and ready for use by the public. Back at the office, George continued working on the “Preserve Profiles” which can be found on the NCLT website.

It was a very solid week interning for NCLT, both in the office and outdoors! We as interns have started to settle into a groove and now more so understand the work we do and why it matters. I can’t believe it’s already the end of our third week doing the Senior Internship Program, as it feels like yesterday that we had first stepped into the office and out onto the NCLT preserves as interns. We’re all looking forward to a great next and final week!

Please keep in touch with the Land Trust by email ([email protected]) or at newcanaanlandtrust.org, and also on Facebook and Instagram (@NC_Land_Trust)! For specific questions regarding our summer programs, please contact Kelly Flannery at [email protected].