Dear supporters of the New Canaan Land Trust and Waveny Park Conservancy,

This week, we began our second session of the 2019 Summer Steward Internship program. During the first session, we were able to complete numerous projects across many of our properties. We plan to continue this momentum with our second group of interns, and we are eager to wrap up the Summer making impactful changes across our open spaces. This session, we will be joined by Javan Mitchell, Crawford Wittmann, Drew Deery, Jack Craig, and Aryan Pal. Our interns are high-school-aged students that all share a passion for the outdoors. You can check out a short biography on our five interns on our website’s blog page.

We began the session at Colhoun Meadow, located along Davenport Ridge Road. Just as before with our session one interns, we started the day by identifying poison ivy, reviewing tick safety, and teaching the interns how to properly handle work equipment. These skills will be implemented throughout the program. After our introductions and our discussion of general logistics for the program, we began working on the property. We removed overgrown plants from the trail and bordered the edges of the trail with logs.

Currently, the trails within the property are overgrown and inaccessible to community members. Over the course of the session, we intend to transform the property by widening and defining the trails. In addition to this, we will be installing raised walkways along wet areas of trail so that community members can easily navigate the property. 

On Tuesday, we began our day by touring NCLT’s office space at 58 Pine Street. We left there to work at Waveny Park for the remainder of the afternoon. We began by mapping our walkthrough of the trails within the park. Along the way, the interns strengthened their plant ID skills. By the end of the day, all interns were able to identify poison ivy, burning bush, and garlic mustard. The interns will continue to develop their plant ID knowledge as the next few weeks pass. We completed the afternoon by making brush piles within the woodlands of the park and by discussing the importance of each habitat across New Canaan. So far, the interns and I have discussed woodland and meadow management. 

On Wednesday, the interns and I met at the Silvermine-Fowler Preserve, located along Silvermine Road, to water new plantings along the trail and within the enclosures. Following that, we moved to Hicks Meadow. We continued pruning cedar limbs to ensure that our mower can reach the trunk of each tree. The interns also removed large vines from the cedars, which can weigh down and snap the branches.

We used this opportunity to continue our discussion on meadow habitats and diverse ecosystems. As we continue to improve Hicks Meadow, more people will be able to enjoy its beauty.

On Thursday, we began our day picking up litter along the trails. We collected three buckets worth of discarded metal, plastic, and glass.

Keeping the park clean benefits the visitors and wildlife. Throughout our litter sweep, visitors stopped to thank the interns for their efforts. We recycled the litter at the New Canaan Transfer Station, and then resumed our afternoon by conducting visitor surveys at Waveny Park. With these surveys, our interns can gather the opinions of Waveny Park guests, and we can better tailor the park to improve everyone’s experience. 

On Friday, the interns were joined by NCLT’s Executive Director, Aaron Lefland. Aaron met the interns at Browne Preserve along Valley Road. The interns helped Aaron cut down and stack dead cedars for scout projects across our properties. Cedar wood is highly rot resistant and is the perfect material to construct raised walkways, water bars, benches, and gates. Installing these features across NCLT properties improves the aesthetics and accessibility for our visitors. After transporting the cedars to Watson-Symington Preserve, Aaron led a plant ID walk and taught the interns how to use a field guide book. As the interns learn more about native plant species in New Canaan, they will be able to pass along their knowledge to family, friends, and other community members. 

Overall, the interns and I had a great first week of their session. We hope to continue developing our skills and making improvements across New Canaan. 

Listed below is a tentative schedule for next week:

08/05/2019- 08/09/2019

Monday (08/05)- work on NCLT property 

  • Starting at 9:00 am- Meet at 58 Pine Street
  • Begin work defining Colhoun Preserve
  • Visit other meadows for meadow sweep

Tuesday (08/06)– work at Waveny Park property

  • Starting at 9:00 am- Meet at Waveny House
  • Conduct visitor surveys.
  • Track trail distances using mapping application.
  • General park maintenance.

Wednesday (08/07)– Field trip

Thursday (08/08)– work on NCLT property

  • Starting at 9:00 am- Meet at 58 Pine Street
  • Construct raised walkways at Colhoun Preserve

Friday (08/09)– work at Waveny Park

  • Starting at 9:00 am-  Meet at Waveny House
  • Conduct visitor surveys 
  • Meadow sweep for invasive species
  • Tree markers for trails

For questions or comments regarding our Summer Steward Internship program, or any of our Summer programming, please email [email protected]. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@NC_Land_Trust) for more updates!