By George Dumbauld and Kelly Flannery

As summer approaches, seniors at New Canaan High School are starting a new chapter in their life. Our high school recognizes that second-semester seniors would benefit from the experience of working with local organizations. They allow us to take part in a senior internship, which gives us an opportunity to get a taste of the real word. All seniors were assigned an internship based on their interests. Luckily for me, and three other New Canaan seniors, I was selected to intern with the New Canaan Land Trust. At first, I didn’t really know what to expect, but once we began exploring the beautiful scenic grounds on the Watson-Symington property, I knew I would love interning here.

When I was a little I always loved the outdoors, from fishing with my brother or jumping into ponds, being outside feels like home. Working outdoors, as opposed to being inside the classroom, is just an added bonus.

We started our first day at the GreenLink trail. This trail, located behind the New Canaan Nature Center, was cool considering I’ve personally never seen it, and it was almost like a secret path. Nearing the end of the path you reach an amazing bridge overlooking a pond. It’s a hidden gem and I have to go back and see it again. We went back to the office to have lunch with NCLT board member, Beth Sanford, to discuss what the New Canaan Land Trust ultimately does. While eating some delicious pizza, Mrs. Sanford got to know us better and explained the in’s and out’s of NCLT. This was a great meeting and very informative for the interns.

On Wednesday we had our first full office day. Although scanning and filing the property inspection forms from the past few years does not sound glamorous, it became easy once we established our rhythm. A few more weeks at this and I could become the best scanner and filer in Fairfield County! It is a task that I have never had to do, but I feel like it is an important skill I will utilize in the future. We also started a project on a donation database to better understand the charitable organizations in New Canaan. The best part about Wednesday was working together as a team to accomplish these projects. By communicating our ideas and questions, we were able to move quickly and efficiently through our workload.

On Thursday we completed our first physical task: constructing cages to protect new plantings from predation. These plantings are located on the Silvermine-Fowler preserve. These were native plants, and it is a great feeling knowing that we are making a positive contribution to the landscape. I cannot wait to return in the future and see these plants thrive! We finished the afternoon by completing more administrative work, which again introduced me to tasks that I expect to come in handy in my future career.

Today, Friday 05/24, was the last day of our first week. We wrapped up the week by attending the weekly Advertiser Coffee held in the New Canaan Historical Society. This was exciting because we got to listen to real concerns of our local government and listen to our community members share their thoughts. None of us had ever attended before, so we were happy to have had that opportunity! We also worked on the Hicks meadow, moving piles of brush and spreading wood chips. I have really enjoyed our time working outdoors because you get to see a lot of accomplishments in a short period of time. We also met with Catharine Sturgess, Vice President of the NCLT Board of Directors. It was so nice speaking to her and learning more about her involvement over lunch.

Overall, it was a great first week and we are excited to be reunited with our executive director, Aaron Lefland. Aaron has been at the Wentworth Leadership Program in Estes Park, Colorado. Next week, we will continue to work and develop our skills in the office and finish more projects outdoors!

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].