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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Anthropologist Margaret Mead 

Upcoming Events / Recent News and Events

Star Gazing Party Cancelled for Friday, Sept., 22…

Re-scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, 6-9…

FREE and Open to the Public
Enjoy a tour of the summer night sky with Groton Open Space Association, Inc., the Thames Amateur Astronomical Society, and the Groton Public Library.
Saturn and its rings, as well as the great summer star clusters amd nebulae, will be the main targets.
The astronomy club will provide the telescopes and the views
Observing will take place on GOSA’s Candlewood Ridge property.
The field is located off Lambtown Rd in Groton.

Bring flashlights for the walk back to your car
Event signs near the entrance.

NOTE Date change:


Haley Farm “Ramble”!!

Sunday, June 11th 12-2pm (1pm group start)

Family friendly, walk, run, jog or stroll celebrating one of the region’s most popular parks. Choose your own pace and distance, from a few hundred yards to 3 miles. Check Facebook for updates.

(Heavy rain cancels)

Parking at Haley Farm. 


Hike CT’s New 201 Acre State Preserve

Saturday, May 27th 10am            

Saturday, June 17th 10am

Challenging, difficult, steep, rocky terrain, 2 –3 hours,

Wear sturdy shoes. Bring water and snack. Please no pets. Parking off Rte. 117 on Poheganut Road, north of the Mystic Marriott.

CT Forest and Park Trails Weekend Hikes             

Saturday, June 3rd   X-Town Trail Hike

Moderate terrain. Bluff Point to Town’s End, 6 miles, 3-4 hours. Wear sturdy shoes. Bring water and snack. Please no pets. Parking at Bluff Point.

Groton Parks and Rec bus will return you to the start.

Sunday, June 4th 10am   Sheep Farm Hike

Easy terrain. Family friendly, 1 hour. Wear sturdy shoes. Bring water and snack. Please no pets

Parking at 245-255 Hazelnut Hill Road off Rte. 117 near Pequot Health Center.

Sunday. June 4th 2pm   Avery Farm Hike

Easy terrain. Family friendly, 1 1/2 hour. Wear sturdy shoes. Bring water and snack. Please no pets.

Parking at southern gate of Lambtown Ext. Turn north from Rt 184 onto Groton’s Lambtown Road and follow to the end and park in the grassy lot.


Haley Farm “Ramble”!!

Saturday, June 11th 12-2pm (1pm group start)

Family friendly, walk, run, jog or stroll celebrating one of the region’s most popular parks. Choose your own pace and distance, from a few hundred yards to 3 miles. Check Facebook for updates.

(Heavy rain cancels)

Parking at Haley Farm. 

Please read this great article by Steve Fagin in the New London Day about GOSA marking 50 years of conservation!

GOSA Annual Gala & Silent Auction at the Mystic Marriott

A celebration of 50 years (1967-2017) advocating for land, water, and wildlife!

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 5-9 pm  – RSVP by April 13th                                
Click for 2017 GALA RSVP card


Our Thanks to our 2017 GALA Sponsors!


The Law Office of Eric P. Santoro,

LLC  Personal Injury and Worker’s Compensation

The Brian Smith Family              The Friends of Fort Hill

Tilcon’s rare pitch pine ridge habitat with huckleberry and blueberry understory

February 9 Tilcon Property Closing Update Although an exact closing date on the Tilcon property remains elusive, CT DEEP tells GOSA it will be very soon. GOSA hand delivered its 15% contribution to DEEP on February 6th.

For more information about this property, click here to read about our collaboration with the State of Connecticut to protect the extraordinary Tilcon property with its beautiful trails and rare habitat. Click here to read a Groton citizen’s letter to the editor in support of GOSA’s role in the acquisition of the Tilcon property.

January 31   Update on the Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Protect Public Land

A broad coalition of environmental groups concerned that Connecticut’s state parks (and other public lands) are in jeopardy of being sold or given away are renewing their push to get proposed state constitutional protections on the 2018 ballot. Click here to read an article in the Hartford Courant; to read more about GOSA’s efforts to protect public land in Groton (Mystic Oral School/Mystic Educational Center), click here. After last year’s failed attempt to convey Mystic Education Center forested land, negotiations are underway right now to convey another 10 acres of Center land under CT DEEP’s purview.

BluffPoint3 blue sky (1)January 26, 2016 Update on Groton-New London Airport Tree-Cutting Plans

Please click here  to learn more about GOSA’s position on cutting trees at Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Preserve. You can also click here to read CT DEEP’s letter to the Conn. Airport Authority.  Alternatively, click here to read an article in the Day, “DEEP Urges Airport Authority to Limit Tree Cutting at Bluff Point,” which summarizes DEEP’s main points.

December 2016 Tree Cutting Planned at Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve Several GOSA board members and friends attended a hearing at the Municipal Building, City of Groton, to learn more about the Groton-New London Airport’s plans to “remove obstructions” (cut down trees) in three areas of Bluff Point State Park and adjacent private properties to comply with Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations. The meeting was well attended by concerned citizens (including representatives from CT DEEP, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Connecticut Audubon Society, GOSA and more) many of whom made impassioned statements or asked for further clarifications about the plan. Stay tuned for more info.

GOSA News Fall 2016November GOSA Fall News Please click here or on the newsletter icon at left to:

  • catch up on GOSA’s many activities since last spring
  • read a wonderful article on sea serpents in Long Island Sound
  • get an update on Tilcon, our latest land acquisition project
  • get an update on Connecticut’s constitutional amendment to protect conservation lands and  the related issue of Groton’s Mystic Education Center
  • learn how you can protect the wild, the theme of this issue, by converting your traditional lawn into a productive, ecologically sound and naturalistic landscape.

caterpillar-by-charles-shaw“Hi Sidney. Thank you so much for taking the painting group out for the hike. Very nice area. The caterpillar (see image at left, photographed by Shaw on the hike) becomes the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly. The caterpillar’s diet is spicebush & sassafras leaves.
Charles I. Shaw”

Stargazing snip2GOSA co-sponsored a Family Stargazing event with the Thames Amateur Astronomical Society at Candlewood Ridge on Friday, August 26.  It turned out to be a beautiful, relatively clear night for stargazing. At least six or seven astronomers and their telescopes were set up and trained throughout the evening on Saturn, Polaris,  the M13 or Great Globular Cluster. Alternatively, gazers could simply follow an astronomer’s laser beam to see the outline of constellations like the Big and Little Dippers, Cygnus, the Milky Way, and Cassiopeia, to name only a few. Around 55 people of all ages, including Society and GOSA hosts, attended; an excellent turnout. All agreed that Candlewood Ridge provided a great venue for stargazing. GOSA wishes to extend a sincere thank you to the Society’s astronomers who were so very generous to share their amazing telescopes and considerable exertise with all who attended.


grotonreservoirWondering about the status of the drought? For information from UCONN CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education and Research) on the status of water in the State of Connecticut click here. To find out how GOSA has managed their properties under these drought conditions click here. The Hartford Courant featured an article on the drought on September 25 by Gregory B. Hladky.

Advocacy,  Education, Land Care and more!


GOSA’s tag line reads: Advocating for land, water and wildlife in southeastern Connecticut since 1967
Go to our
Accomplishments page to read about GOSA’s history of environmental advocacy. Currently, GOSA’s Advocacy Committee has a full plate keeping a watch on and our members informed about:

  • the Constitutional Amendment to protect public-owned land from conveyances, including plans to convey 10 acres of forested land belonging to the state at the Mystic Education Center
  • plans to cut trees at Bluff Point to accomodate Groton-New London airport
  • Groton Zoning Commission’s rewriting of the regulations pertaining to the Water Resource Protection District. Learn more about GOSA’s position here
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new wildlife refuge called The Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, an historic conservation achievement. GOSA is assisting the USFWS to identify willing landowners and suitable lands.


Why did GOSA cut down trees at Candlewood Ridge and the newly-acquired Avery Farm? Please click here to find out.

.16.15Outreach to Kids
CK Explorer’s Club
Click here to read an article about this outdoor hiking program for kids.

Campers from the Groton Town Parks & Recreation/William Seeley School program visited the Sheep Farm last summer. The 9 to 10 year-old youngsters identified butterflies with guidance from Bea Reynolds. The children scrambled over rocks and a historic house foundation, admired large sycamore and oak trees and enjoyed  a woods walk, the brook, waterfall, and grist mill dam. GOSA president Joan Smith pointed out caddisfly larvae clinging to the bottom of rocks, a sign of clean stream water.

Campers Have a Fun Day at Haley Farm

frog at HF summer 16kids rush boulder at HF 7.21.16

GOSA’s President and VP led a group of William Seely Summer Day Camp 6- and 7-year-olds and their counselors on a tour of Haley Farm.The kids enjoyed playing around the old farm foundations, seeing Goose Pond and its resident frog, spotting butterflies, prospecting for gold in a tunnel, and climbing on boulders. All-time favorite activities included being first in line and finding wild animals, precious rocks, even dead bodies! Everyone – kids,counselors, and GOSA guides alike – had a wonderful time.

Beetle Invasion   Another issue of concern to Connecticut is the latest beetle invasion, threatening three varieties of our pine trees: the red pine, Scots pine and pitch pine. Of these, pitch pine — the only native species of the four — is at the greatest risk. After the warmest winter on record recorded in much of New England, the concern is even greater. Click here to learn more.

Land Care

GOSA volunteers get the job done! Invasives Control on Avery Farm   As the saying goes, many hands make light work!  UCONN Ecohuskies, 26 strong from both the Avery Point and Storrs campuses, were joined by GOSA members Jim, Sidney, Syma, Mike, Joan, and newcomer Joel Strauss who together took advantage of a beautiful day to attack invasive plants at the Avery Farm. Most volunteers worked the entire 10 – 2 event.

AF UCONN 11 15 15A large field of Japanese knotweed was first cut back as a warm-up. Next came liberating cedars and other trees from tangles of bittersweet, honeysuckle and multiflora rose. Black swallowwort was bagged for removal from the site, autumn olive cut down, and low-growing vines mowed. Found and removed from the underbrush were trash, glass artifacts, mattress springs, PVC pipes, radios, lamps, and rusty buckets. The site had been an orchard and pasture before being abandoned and overgrown by invasive plants.
GOSA was awarded a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant to improve habitat for the New England cottontail (NEC), until recently a candidate endangered species at both the Candlewood Ridge and Avery Farm sites. The endangered rabbit had been positively identified by DEEP officials by wintertime DNA sampling of pellets. Because of successful efforts by CT DEEP, GOSA, and other land trusts to improve habitat, the NEC has been delisted as a candidate endangered species. 



Two groups of volunteers from the Groton area joined forces with GOSA to clear invasive bittersweet vines and multiflora rose from a section of Avery Farm. A group from the Groton-New London International Church of Christ volunteered their help and spent a day lopping down vines. Pfizer “Annual Day of Caring” employees  came in two shifts a few days later and lopped and sawed too. Altogether 66 intrepid souls waded into some gnarly thickets of vines and liberated quite a few trees. Thank you!Pfizer Day of Caring 2015

TMFFCowslipbridgeBridge Built Over Cowslip Brook at the Merritt Family Forest Improves X-Town Trail

Assisted by 20 young, enthusiastic and strong Naval Submarine Base volunteers, the bridge was completed in record time: less than 30 minutes! Volunteers carried the previously fabricated frame from the road to the brook, and pushed or carried wheel barrels filled with pre-cut boards and equipment to the crossing site. With five drills working, volunteers started at both ends and met in the middle. As the last board fell into place, the Cutler Cross-Country team crossed the bridge for its first official use. Thank you U.S. Navy Volunteers! The bridge even came in under budget with donated surplus screws and supplies. Click here to learn more about how you can protect the environment.

Land conservation is for everyone. Do you have land you would like to protect?

where.we.live_logoLearn all about land conservation on WNPR’s Where We Live program titled This Land (Trust) Was Made for You and Me.

CLCCdoc.ProtectingtheLandYou LoveProtecting the Land You Love  This booklet was written by the Connecticut Land Conservation Council for landowners who love their land and want to learn more about options for permanent protection and what to expect during the conservation process. Click on the icon to discover that there is no “one-size-fits all” approach to land protection, and that you can choose the option that best meets your family’s needs. Throughout the booklet, you can read real stories and advice from landowners who have conserved their own special places. 

State of Connecticut Land Conservation Goals   A conservation goal set more than a decade ago points to an “ambitious” target: preserving 21 percent of Connecticut’s land as open space by 2023. Since the first Green Plan conservation goal was proposed in 2001, and an update came out in 2007, 73 percent of that goal has been reached over 15 years. That is outstanding news! However, open space funding has now lagged, the state said, and it won’t reach that goal. Read more

moving imageRecords Project 

GOSA is collaborating with the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) to organize and digitally scan our paper records according to Land Trust Alliance standards. We are honored to have been selected for this competitive program. The records initiative will help us protect land by protecting the records that document them in perpetuity. There will be back-up systems, both digital and paper, to hopefully last for hundreds of years.

Sheep Farm Waterfall image2

Sheep Farm waterfall after a summer storm