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The sparkling header photo of Fort Hill Brook at the Sheep Farm was taken by George Savic. Thank you, George!

Colonial Avery Farm

Conservation You Make Possible, a Place You Can Enjoy

In announcing the grant for the Avery Farm and other open-space acquisitions this past October, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy spoke about the importance to the people of Connecticut of these purchases.

AnnualAppealthermometerand piechart2014Preservation projects such as these,” said Malloy, “are fundamental to maintaining our high quality of life, protecting the immense natural beauty of our state, and making Connecticut a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

The above thermometer and pie chart tell the story of the fund-raising progress GOSA has made so far.  Please click here to help us raise the remaining $300,000 needed to purchase Avery Farm. The Day’s editorial below, in support of GOSA’s fundraising efforts, is a wonderful read too.











In an editorial titled Preserving Open Spaces for Posterity, published by The Day on November 29,  the editorial board has not only publicized GOSA’s efforts to purchase the Avery Farm, it has also has encouraged their readers to contribute to the cause. If you have not yet read this wonderful editorial, please click here or on the title above.


“Who Cooks for You?”














 A barred owl perched on a Haley Farm street sign. Photo by Adrian Johnson.

“The Barred Owl’s hooting call, ‘Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?’ is a classic sound of old forests and treed swamps. But this attractive owl, with soulful brown eyes and brown-and-white-striped plumage, can also pass completely unnoticed as it flies noiselessly through the dense canopy or snoozes on a tree limb. Originally a bird of the east, during the twentieth century it spread through the Pacific Northwest and southward into California.” Click here to read more at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website, All About Birds.


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!













October 28, 2014   


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.

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  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 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


“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.”
September 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

Bug Love

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.

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.  Click here for the complete story of the CK Explorers program.

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
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.

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.

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.


  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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