Dear Supporters of the New Canaan Land Trust,
I cannot believe that this past week marks the ending of Session 1’s Summer Steward Internship Program! Although the time flew by incredibly fast, the amount of projects completed as well as the quality of friendships made along the way feel much stronger than what I thought could happen in one month.
On Monday, the interns and I visited the Colhoun Preserve for the first time all together. We spent the morning lining the Spur Trail with thick logs in order for the path to maintain its outline and form over time. In addition, we did a lot of weed whacking, pruning back branches, and raking. We left the trail around lunch time, clean, polished, and ready for passerbyers to have an unbothered and swift walk! After lunch, I took a few interns with me to the New Canaan Firestation in order to fill up our water tank for watering Fowler Meadow and additional plants. The interns loved this experience, and we are greatly appreciative of the firefighters’ kindness and help every time we come visit. We spent the afternoon watering Fowler Meadow as well as the fenced in plants that typically lack water due to the tall trees above these plants that block their access to rainfall. The interns are getting very good at operating the water pump as well as problem solving when there is an unexpected glitch.
On Tuesday, we started the day off with a field trip to the Connecticut Audubon Society in Fairfield. This organization works to conserve Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and participates in advocating for the state’s birds population and habitats. We spent the morning with Tricia, an educator, as she introduced us to all of the birds that the Audubon Society was rehabilitating, as well as teaching us the major threats that Connecticut bird species face, and how we as individuals can help combat this. Following this tour, we all received our own pair of binoculars and went out onto the Audubon’s trails to bird watch.
After this, we travelled to visit Fairgate Farms, an urban community farm in Stamford. Here, we learned about the pros and cons of urban farming and weeded, picked vegetables and fruits, and tended to bean plants. Although the afternoon was hot, all of us persevered through the intense heat and had a really good time learning more about agriculture. We all left Fairgate realizing the beauty and positive environmental impact of up-keeping a farm, and discussed how we all felt inspired now to start our own personalized farms in our backyard.
On Wednesday, we were at Watson-Symington Preserve for the day- a property we have not visited since the first day! Here, we spent the morning cleaning out clogged water bars from previous storms that have flooded them, which took a lot of shovelling work and muscle strength. In addition, we removed fallen trees by hand sawing through them and moving them out of the way, as well as pruning branches and weed whacking anything that was in the way of the main trail systems.
On Thursday, we gave Fowler Meadow and the enclosed plants at the Still Pond Preserve another watering job, as we were not sure when the next time rain would come. The more we water, the faster and more efficient we get at the job, and it has been so rewarding for us to see the progress we have made in learning how to execute jobs more and more efficiently everytime we partake in doing them. In the afternoon, we hopped over to the Livingston Higley Preserve, where we removed old, collapsing birdhouses and installed brand new homes for these birds, as well as added plastic protectors on the bird hole to keep raccoons and other hunters out of these homes.
Once Friday hit, we could not believe it was our last day. It was a rainy day, so we had planned a very fun and new activity that we could do indoors to keep warm and dry- Sign Painting!! We spent the entire day brainstorming the best designs and way to advertise and mark the trails throughout the Still Pond Preserve. Everyone had different job responsibilities, and we spent the day painting and drawing, while complementing each other’s amazing work. Before executing this project, a lot of the interns did not feel confident in their artistic abilities, but it was evident after completing all five signs that every NCLT intern is a true artist.
Although I am saddened that Session 1 has officially come to an end, I have confidence that the relationships we made and memories will hold for a long time- and I will always have our physical projects to visit and look back on to remember the amazing month we have all had together. Thank you all for being here, and I look forward to the adventures that Session 2 will bring in a short week!