GROTON — The Groton Open Space Association will hold its 2010 annual membership meeting Oct. 21 as a major GOSA acquisition effort approaches its climax. 

The scheduled guest speaker for the meeting, Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, is author of a book on Connecticut’s geology. 

The meeting will take place against the background of the GOSA campaign to raise money to buy the 63-acre Sheep Farm on Hazelnut Hill Road before the organization’s purchase option runs out Dec. 31, 2010. 

Latham-Chester Store, Noank, Meeting Site

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer is professor emeritus of earth science at Wesleyan University and author of Stories in Stone: How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture, published last year by Wesleyan University Press. 

Site of the meeting is the Latham Chester Store, 108 Main Street, Noank. Start time is 7 p.m.  

Professor Zeilinga de Boer will present a slide show and will sign his books before and after the program. In addition to Stories in Stone, he has written Volcanoes in Human History and Earthquakes in Human History, both with co-author Donald T. Sanders. 

For the meeting, GOSA will display at the Latham-Chester store information on the planned Sheep Farm acquisition. As the meeting takes place, GOSA will be well into the critical phase of its drive to bridge the gap between expected state financial assistance and the acquisition price of $878,500. The property would be preserved by GOSA as public-access open space. 

GOSA also is seeking money to create an endowment for maintenance. The tract, once a colonial farm, is rich in documented history; plants, wildlife, and varied landscape, including meadow, swamp, ledge, cliff and forest. It is the site of Groton’s highest waterfall. GOSA first signed papers in October 2008 to buy the land, which was being used to farm sheep when agricultural operations were shut down around 2000. The site is close to schools and the Senior Center.  

A second display at the store will highlight an innovative plan to improve the wildlife habitat at The Merritt Family Forest, acquired by GOSA in 2008, by creating an open grassland meadow in a space reclaimed from thickets of invasive plants. 

Preceding Professor Zeilinga de Boer’s talk will be a brief business meeting, including nomination and election of directors and officers, special awards and annual reports. Refreshments and conversation will follow the meeting, which is open to the public.