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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 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

July 22, 2014   Read more of Sigrun Gadwah’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





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. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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
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.
June 26, 2014

Thank You, Rotory Club of Mystic!

JimAndersonRotarymower2014The Groton Open Space Association wishes to thank the Rotary Club of Mystic for their generous grant of $500. The funds were used to purchase this sturdy, self-propelled mower and safety equipment to help us better manage the small fields, trails, and parking areas on our land trust properties. GOSA Director Jim Anderson, right, is putting the new mower through its first paces.
June 19, 2014  

Congratulations, Sidney!

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.

June 18, 2014  

GOSA Alert!

American eel imageGlass eels, the juvenile form of the American eel, serve a crucial role in the aquatic food web. Now, they need your help! Please tell fisheries policy makers to protect glass eels.  Here in Connecticut, Governor Malloy did his part by vetoing a law that could have allowed a fishing season for glass eels. Here is how you can help:

Please take a few minutes to send the Commission your thoughts. Ask them to protect glass eels so our American eel population can recover. The public comment deadline is July 17, 2014. Comments can be submitted to Kate Taylor (comments@asmfc.org) with the subject line American Eel, and please send a copy to lmcmillan@ctenvironment.org.

To learn more about the American eel, read GOSA Director Syma Ebbin’s article on “The Eel Deal: Recounting the Saga of the Sheep Farm Eel While Exploring the Mystery of the Eel’s Life History” by clicking here. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 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.   AFAmerican kestrel
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.”

____________________________________________________________________________________ HFCleanupgrouppic                   _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ April, 2014   

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. Haley Farm 2014 clean-up image 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

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!


  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! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ March, 2014    

Happy Birthday Sidney Van Zandt!   

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, 150 of Sidney’s  closest friends came together to celebrate her 80th birthday at a party at Shennecossett Yacht Club in Groton.  Not only were her extraordinary contributions to land conservation in the region recognized, but the many nautical adventures she and husband Sandy have shared were highlighted as well. Click here to read Steve Fagin’s wonderful celebratory blog on Sidney posted on March 22, and click here to see the award from the CT legislature that Andy Maynard and Elissa Wright presented to her at the party. SVZKCAwardimage

Sidney Van Zandt receives award for excellence in land conservation!

The Connecticut Land Conservation Council awarded the 2014 Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Conservation to Sidney Van Zandt, founder and currently Vice President of Groton Open Space Assoc., Inc., for her decades of service to the conservation movement. GOSA was born in Southeastern CT in 1967 with the battle to preserve the historic Haley Farm. This achievement was soon  followed by the preservation of Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve, The Merritt Family Forest, the Sheep Farm, Candlewood Ridge, and with your continued support, Avery Farm. Congratulations, Sidney! Click here to see Sidney’s awards. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ March 6, 2014 A few weeks ago, officials of the town of Ledyard announced a plan to close Lambtown Road Extension, the dirt road that runs alongside Avery Farm, year-round. Hikers, bicyclists, and runners will still be allowed through. Read more in the Feb. 22, 2014 article written by Steve Fagin of The Day. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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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