Take a Tour of Avery Farm…
…one of the most biologically diverse and valuable sites for conservation in eastern Connecticut.” Dr. Robert Askins, Katherine Blunt Professor of Biology, Connecticut College
Every Sunday at 2:00 Click here for more information, and read about a recent tour below:
“What a day! We had about 16 people on the hike. I showed them fairy shrimp from the vernal pool close by. Then a pair of sharp-shinned hawks greeted us, then there was a great egret in the marsh/bog, then you could hear wood frogs, then a kingfisher, then ring-necked ducks. As I was about to leave the area and go to the fields, there was an osprey fishing above the marsh/bog – backpedaling with its wings. One of the people had just asked if there were osprey up there! Everyone LOVED it!” Sue Sutherland
The photo (left) by Peter M. Weber shows Sidney Van Zandt, vice president of Groton Open Space Association, leading a group on a weekly walking tour of Avery Farm in Ledyard.
What an outstanding site for a botany field trip! Sigrun Gadwah, consulting ecologist, professional wetland scientist, and registered soil scientist.
Read more of Sigrun’s enthusiastic July 22 write-up about the Connecticut Botanical Society’s visit to Avery Farm by clicking here.
Right: Great spangled fritillary nectaring on orange milkweed
Avery Farm Fundraising Update
Since launching the fundraising campaign last December, GOSA has raised $201,000. We have $965,000 left to raise. Two generous donors will match 100% of donations in 2014 up to a remaining total of $73,000 – so you can double your contribution, even triple it with matching funds from your employer. GOSA applied to the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in March, 2014, for an open space grant. With your continued help, we hope to close on this unique property with its outstanding habitat soon. Click here to donate online and here to learn more about Avery Farm, called “…one of the most biologically diverse and valuable sites for conservation in eastern Connecticut” by Dr. Robert Askins, Katherine Blunt Professor of Biology, Connecticut College. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Almost “No Child Left Inside” Thanks to the CK Explorers Club
This past spring, GOSA board of directors member, Syma Ebbin, and Ben Moon, a 4th-grade teacher at Catherine Kolnaski Elementary School, organized an afterschool “Explorers” Club. Fifteen 4th and 5th grade students of diverse backgrounds were selected to participate in the club by lottery from a pool of over 40 applicants. GOSA funded the purchase of cinch packs for the students and the school leadership provided iPads and bussing to and from the off-campus sites. Two Avery Point UConn marine science students, Sydney Marcks and Sara Mindek, volunteered to work as instructional aides. The club met Thursday afternoons from April through June to explore different parcels of open space in Groton. The Club hiked Haley Farm State Park, Beebe Cove/Hidden Lake, GOSA’s Sheep Farm and Merritt Family Forest, and Pequot Woods. The final week culminated in a kayak trip launched from Esker Beach Park to explore Palmer Cove, using boats loaned by New England Sailing and Science. Overall, the club was a great success and the students had a lot of fun. We hope to expand the program to include the fall and spring, more students and possibly more schools in the district. The complete story of the CK Explorers program will appear in late October in the fall issue of GOSA News.
New Connecticut Blue Trails Map!
Thank You, Rotory Club of Mystic!
June 17, 2014
DEEP Offers Advice for Snake Encounters
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is reminding residents that snakes are becoming active at the same time people are outdoors to enjoy the nice weather, do yard work, or participate in various outdoor activities. Snake encounters can be alarming for some people, especially if they don’t understand how harmless, yet important, these creatures are to the natural world.
“Snakes are probably some of the most misunderstood animals in the outdoors,” said Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEEP Wildlife Division. “There is no need to fear or hate these reptiles. If you leave snakes alone, they will leave you alone.”
The Wonderful World of Dragonflies
“Think small and your world view can become very strange, indeed. That is, if you delve into the often overlooked, miniaturized world of dragonflies. These lightning-fast, colorful insects can both fascinate and benefit landowners. All you need to enjoy these creatures is clean water, a willingness to do some digging and planting, and some close-focusing binoculars.” Click here to read more about how to attract dragonflies to your property, and don’t forget to visit GOSA’s Candlewood Ridge to catch a glimpse of them there. The above photo of a Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea) female was taken by Sue Sutherland at Candlewood. _______________________________________________________________________________
May 24, 2014
Habitat Restoration at Candlewood Ridge by Whitney Adams, GOSA Director
…since a section of the original mature forest was clear-cut about 5? years ago by previous owners of the property, it has developed into a fine young forest habitat providing really good cover, nesting and food for wildlife. It is excellent bunny habitat! In fact, we found plenty of rabbit droppings in the area. There is also at least one animal burrow on the sloping hillside and large piles of branches from the original clear-cut piles along one side of the site providing ready-made wildlife cover. This is the sort of habitat restoration the National Resources Conservation Service is currently helping us with on about 30 acres of mature forest at Candlewood Ridge and Avery Farm. The mature forest has little plant diversity and habitat value compared with the young forest habitat that will be created. The back-field site also gives us an idea of the sort of vegetation that may colonize restored areas of the big CR field that will not be mowed in the future.”
To read on, click here.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ May 8, 2014
Wildlife Report from Avery and Lamb Farms by Karen Lamb, GOSA Director
According to birdwatcher Steve Gordon and the bird guidebooks, kestrels eat mice, voles, insects, and birds. Steve thought that they might be able to catch really small young bunnies, but that adult bunnies would be too large for kestrel lunch. Steve has had numerous sitings this week of a kestrel near the Lamb and Avery hayfields on the dirt road. He also said that the pine warblers are back.A white egret has been taking advantage of the road closure and now walks down the road. Tiny turtles (size of a quarter) are on the road as well. Many birds on the marsh are coming closer to the road now that there is no traffic to frighten them.”
Haley Farm Spring Clean-up!
Thanks to The Last Green Valley and an amazing group of volunteers for supporting GOSA’s two clean-up days at Haley Farm on April 21 and 26. Though it rained on the 26th, the day was still very productive: invasive vines growing on and around about 600 linear feet of massive stonewall were cut back and removed. Altogether, 19 volunteers participated in the clean-up. Between 9 and 1 on a beautiful sunny day, a large and dedicated group of volunteers, including 25 from the Naval Submarine Base in Groton and eight from CT DEEP, gathered at Haley Farm to liberate the farm’s stone walls and trees from invasive vines. Joan Smith, GOSA’s president, described the energy level at the event as follows: “These young whippersnappers even raced uphill after clearing both sides of the long wall. They think nothing of leaping up onto the wall, balancing and clipping, and jumping back down.” Dozens of loppers and clam rakes were employed to beat back the invasives. Pizza and refreshments were provided. These volunteers came in good shape and left Haley Farm in even better shape! Thank you to one and all. ____________________________________________________________________________
GOSA News Spring 2014
Click on the newsletter icon on the left for the spring issue of GOSA News. It comingles the wonderful work GOSA volunteers have been doing on our open space properties with in-depth features on three of the creatures in our midst that depend on us to protect and/or restore their habitat: monarch butterflies, the American eel, and oysters and is a reminder of how fragile life in the balance truly is. We also share upcoming events and our promising progress on the acquisition of Avery Farm. Celebrate spring with a visit to this beautiful property!
Another way to raise funds for GOSA is to use Amazon Smile. Click here to find out how. It’s easy! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Sheep Farm waterfall after a June downpour
Jim Anderson’s video ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Go to the Groton Town Website for a complete schedule of town meetings. The only town meetings listed on this GOSA page will be those of expected special environmental interest. Once you are in the town schedule, click on the calendar displayed and move forward and backward with plus and minus signs. For a video of Town Council meetings, click on GMTV on Groton home page and then on Streaming Video.