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October 30, 2014

Click on the fall newsletter icon to read some great articles about: an Explorers Club for kids; threats to northeastern forests and birds; “rabbitat” restoration at Candlewood Ridge;  fundraising for Avery Farm; and much more!

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October 28, 2014   

GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO PRESERVE NEARLY 2,250 ACRES OF OPEN SPACE IN 25 COMMUNITIES STATEWIDE

GOSA Receives OSWLA Award!

GOSA is celebrating the award of an Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWLA) grant in the amount of $611,000 towards the purchase of Avery Farm!  Administered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP),  the OSWLA grant  program provides financial support to local governments and land trusts in purchasing open space, using state bonds and funding from the 2005 Community Investment Act. Read full announcement… and/or click here to read The Day article.

Avery Farm Fundraising Update  

Since launching the fundraising campaign last December, GOSA has raised $224,000 from individual donors and private foundations. With the $611,00 grant from the State of Connecticut’s DEEP OSLWA program, we now have $335,000 left to raise. Matching funds are available to double, even triple, your contribution with matching funds from your employer.   With your continued help, we hope to close on this unique property with its outstanding habitat soon.

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Click on the membership form above for a printable copy. Or, 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. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 10, 2014 

Annual Meeting

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Photos: Top left, Joan Smith, GOSA president;  Robert Askins, Keynote Speaker.

GOSA’s Annual Meeting took place last night at the Latham-Chester store in Noank.  Over 70 attended the triple-header meeting, lecture, and art show. GOSA president Joan Smith’s address summarized GOSA’s ongoing work, and these are the key active verbs in summary: maintaining, removing, improving, writing,  informing, publicizing, surveying, documenting, fundraising!, negotiating, contributing, accounting, managing, creating, expanding, joining and winning (awards!). Three Salamander Awards–GOSA’s highest honor–were presented to Steve Gordon, Jake Newsome and Jonathan Lincoln (in absentia) followed by Dr. Robert Askins’ lecture on major threats to forests and birds.

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October 3, 2014

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Click here to read The Day‘s article detailing the vitally important work done by GOSA and the Pfizer volunteers pictured above.  Over 800 native, drought-resistant species were planted to protect wildlife habitat at Candlewood Ridge.

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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 a map to the Avery Farm parking lot, 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

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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!  exclaimed 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.

AF frittilary butterfly Right: Great spangled fritillary nectaring on orange milkweed

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September 13, 2014

“Useless Creatures” Reader Alert!

      this article contains no useful information. Zero. Nada. Nothing. If usefulness is your criterion for reading, thank you very much for your time and goodbye, we have nothing more to say. The truth is, I am bored to tears by usefulness. I am bored, more precisely, of pretending usefulness is the thing that really matters.” Richard Conniff, The New York Times

Click here to read a powerful article about so-called “Useless Creatures.”
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September 2, 2014

One habitat project leads to another….

While preparing for some massive plantings at Candlewood Ridge to create “dense native plant thickets” for the New England cottontail and 50 other species, GOSA volunteers discovered abandoned PVC pipe on the property. A call was made to Habitat for Humanity and they gladly picked up the pipes to “ReStore” habitat at another site.
HabitatforHumanity truck at CR
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August 25, 2014

Bug Love

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Of the millions of insects that inhabit the earth only a tiny fraction, less than  one percent, are pests. The rest are helpful, not harmful, to humans. Click here to read an article titled “Bug Love” by Scott R. Shaw, Professor of Entomology, University of Wyoming.  “The next time an insect crawls across your path,” Scott wrote, “master your impulse to squash it immediately and kneel down to observe it’s microscopic majesty.”
Above image: Green lacewing, an example of a helpful insect in your garden. Adult lacewings feed on pollen, nectar, and honeydew. Green lacewing larvae, however, are voracious predators. Nicknamed “aphid lions,” the larvae do an impressive job of devouring aphids by the dozens. Larvae hunt for soft-bodied prey, using their curved, pointed mandibles to stab their victims. To learn about insects that are helpful in your garden, click here.
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August 24, 2014

A Day in the Field, by Joan Smith, GOSA President

       Today was a formidable workday at Candlewood Ridge. We had two mowers, the Jari mower, and several hedge trimmers moving constantly to prepare the field for planting. Our native grasses and other seedlings are coming up in rows; it helped to remove cover from the larger non-native plants.
       David Scott used his truck to try to dig up buried wire, and Karen excavated more carpet, metal and glass fragments. Habitat for Humanity will pick up the PVC pipes left by the previous owners.
       We also admired Si’s “redneck swimming pool” -a tarp rigged up 8 feet by 20 feet, which effectively catches rain water for our planting project. Jim says he bought a real pool on sale which he will set up for Rick Whittle to fill with his water truck. Sue says she captured several photos. The site looks better than ever. I myself was covered in a cloud of dust…like Pigpen in the Peanuts strip.

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Above left: Native rose plants, among many others, to be planted in the field prepared by GOSA volunteers.
Above right: Candlewood Ridge field cleared and ready to be planted.
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August 19, 2014

Plein Air Artists Help GOSA Raise Funds to Preserve Avery Farm

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Art lovers one and all! Local artists will set up their easels and paints at Avery Farm today and again on August 25 to create landscape paintings that will be on exhibit and for sale at the Latham-Chester Store, 108 Main St., in Noank. The Plein Air opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 2, 5-8 p.m. and the exhibit will be on display daily, 1-4, Oct. 3 through our Annual Meeting on October 9th, 7- 9 p.m. 
Please click here to see an interesting video of the Plein Air painting session recorded by Ray O’Connell. For example, Ray’s inquiring mind wanted to know why one of the plein air artists had turned her composition sideways while she worked!
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July 27, 2014   

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 CKExplorersClubimagecroppedElementary 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.
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July 11, 2014

New Connecticut Blue Trails Map!

Click here: www.ctwoodlands.org/BlueTrailsMap to view a new interactive trails map including parking information and directions to trail heads for the Connecticut Forest & Parks blue-blazed trails.CTBlueTrails Thumbnail
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July 10, 2014
CT forest imageDid you know that in 1850 only 30% of Connecticut was forested, and that by 1970 the percentage had risen to an astonishing 70%?  Now the number is down to 58.7. Click here to read an article by Steve Grant about how “The Northeast Wants to Be a Forest,” to find out why and what’s happening now. Conclusion? GOSA’s work protecting open space is, and will continue to be, vitally important to Connecticut’s future. Click here to see an interactive map of forest coverage and fragmentation in Groton and other towns in Connecticut.
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June 19, 2014  

Congratulations, Sidney!

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GOSA is pleased to announce that, for the fourth time this year, Sidney Van Zandt, co-founder and Vice President of GOSA,  is the recipient of an award for her outstanding leadership in the environmental conservation movement since 1967.  To read a brief article about the award, please click here and read below. Click on the award to the left to enlarge.
WOMEN INSPIRING CONSERVATION IN CONNECTICUT AWARDS CEREMONY Old Judiciary Room at the Capitol, Hartford, Connecticut   Thursday, June 19, 2014, 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.  This year’s theme, “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment: Stories of the Extraordinary Determination of Women,” honors the exceptional and often unrecognized determination and tenacity of women. Against social convention and often legal restraints, women have created a legacy that expands the frontiers of possibility for generations to come. Women have demonstrated character, courage and commitment as mothers, educators, institution WIC-van-zandt_hurlburtbuilders,business leaders, labor representatives, political and community leaders, relief workers, religious leaders, and more. Their lives and work inspire girls and women to achieve their full potential and encourage boys and men to respect the diversity and depth of the women’s experience.
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June 17, 2014  

DEEP Offers Advice for Snake Encounters

happy snakeConnecticut’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 gartersnake, below, is perhaps the most common, widely distributed, and familiar of all North American snakes. It is found throughout Connecticut, sometimes in yards and even in urban areas. Paul Fusco, DEEP Wildlife Division
To learn more about snakes found in Connecticut,  click here.
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Blace faced Skimmer? - CR west road

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.

____________________________________________________________________________ GOSA News Spring 2014

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!

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  Amazon-Smile-logoDo you shop online using Amazon.com?

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 Sheep Farm Waterfall image2             ___________________________________________________________________________________________________                      chipper party 3.13

Town Meetings

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.

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