October 10, 2014
Photos: Top left, Joan Smith, GOSA president; top right, Jacob Newsome, Eagle Scout, Salamander Award recipient; bottom right, Joan with Steve Gordon, Salamander Award recipient; bottom left, 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.
October 3, 2014
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.
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
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.
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 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. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“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
One habitat project leads to another….
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.
Plein Air Artists Help GOSA Raise Funds to Preserve Avery Farm
Almost “No Child Left Inside” Thanks to the CK Explorers Club
New Connecticut Blue Trails Map!
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.
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.