Dear Stewards, Parents, Members of the Board, and Land Trust Supporters:
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Independence Day weekend. The abbreviated week didn’t stop our group from doing a little work, and having a bit of fun. We jumped right back in with a recap of selections we read from John Burroughs, the 19th-century American naturalist and essayist.
Before the heat and humidity forced us out of the field we spent time at multiple locations identifying flowers, weeds, and trees. Along with their natural beauty, many plants provide benefits far beyond their physical locations that help to sustain plant, animal, and human life. The forests and meadows around New Canaan provide food, shelter, raw material (like wood or organic matter for soil health), regulating services like carbon sequestration, water and air purification, pest control, and the non-material benefits for humans through spiritual enrichment, reflection, and recreation. Choosing to focus on identifying and drawing trees and flowers gave us the chance to deepen our appreciation for these lifeforms, as well as for the open space in which they are allowed to thrive.
On Thursday, the Stewards took a break from the field work and with the help of Dr. Kavookjian we were able to arrange a short paddle in the kayaks at the Noroton Yacht Club in the early afternoon. With a favorable tide and smooth, slack water, our modest fleet glided briskly up the mouth of the Goodwives River, examining what we could see of the marsh ecosystem. A different kind of open space, being on the water gave us an alternate perspective on the history of the landscape and the general importance of estuary, aided by an intriguing colonial-era history lesson from Dr. Kavookjian.
Next week, I have arranged a visit to the New Haven Land Trust and Yale School of Forestry in New Haven on Tuesday (7/12). I am looking for a volunteer or two who can bring a car-full (five?) of Stewards from New Canaan for our 10:30 meeting in New Haven, and who would be willing to stay in New Haven until we finish for the day. Please contact me soon if this is a possibility. It would be greatly appreciated.
Until then, enjoy the cool shade under the dense canopy of the beeches, birches, oaks, and maples on any of the trailed Land Trust properties. To borrow a line from Burroughs, “go to nature and be soothed, have your senses put in order.” If you don’t know where to start, the Stewards should have plenty of suggestions.
See you on the trail,
Mike J.