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Land Trust News

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  • 23 Feb 2017 12:09 PM | Joene (Administrator)

    We love trees for all they do to clean our air, stabilize our soil, shelter our wildlife, feed our insects, shade our landscape, and soothe our souls. Amazingly, despite all the ways people alter the environment where we expect trees to grow, many trees mature into sizeable specimens. East Haddam Land Trust (EHLT) seeks to identify these through its Big Tree Project, and invites you to help.

    The Big Tree Project wants to know about that oak, pine, dogwood, or other tree that seems particularly large compared with others of the same species. For example, a white oak trunk measuring more than 14 feet around or a flowering dogwood more than 2.75 feet in circumference at 4.5 feet from the ground is a big tree worthy of further investigation.

    We urge anyone - a student or school class looking for a nature project, a family seeking outdoor fun, or an individual tree lover – to contact bigtrees@ehlt.org for more information on the Big Tree Project. We’ll help identify the tree species, and offer advice on how to search for Big Trees on open spaces, without stepping on the toes of private property owners.

    The Big Tree you find may be large enough for mention in the Notable Trees of Connecticut website and database. The website highlights notable, historically significant, and champion trees by town and by common and scientific name. Alternately, your Big Tree may only be notable locally. Either way it deserves our appreciation and attention through EHLT’s Big Tree Project. Please join us!

  • 21 Jan 2017 2:39 PM | Joene (Administrator)

    The non-profit rescue center for birds, A Place Called Hope in Killingworth, CT, showed off four of their resident birds to attendees at East Haddam Land Trust's annual meeting on January 20, 2017. About 80 people learned about and had close-up looks at an American kestrel, and Eastern screech owl, a great horned owl, and a red-tailed hawk.

    MkHai, the American kestrel has a birth defect that would have prevented survival in the wild.

    Snowball, an Eastern screech owl, was injured by flying into a vehicle along a road. This is a common injury among birds of prey.

    Amber, a Great Horned Owl, was found after falling from the nest as a young bird, then kept by a human for a few months before being sent to A Place Called Hope. Too much time had passed for Amber to be able to identify with another Great Horned Owl rather than her human caregiver.

    Spirit, a Red-tailed Hawk, is blind in one eye from a vehicle collision.

    A Place Called Hope dealt with about 500 birds last year. They rehabilitate those expected to survive after being released. Others they care for at their facility.

    Many thanks to Ralph Chappell for capturing these great shots. To see more photos and some video of these great birds, visit East Haddam Land Trust's Facebook page.

  • 06 Dec 2016 8:03 AM | Joene (Administrator)

    Read Peter Marteka's account of his hike through two East Haddam Land Trust preserves, Hidden Valley Farm and Bernstein/Atlantic Mill. Both tracts of preserved woodlands and open space include sites that once housed twine mills along the Moodus River.

    Marteka writes, "The trust has done a wonderful job preserving not only the land in East Haddam and Moodus, but also our industrial heritage. The stone sluiceways, old dams and stone buildings and foundations that once held a mill are not only part of our past, but also our present and future."

    Read the full article.

  • 30 Nov 2016 10:48 AM | Joene (Administrator)

    Sixteen hikers explored Mount Archer Woods in Lyme, a lovely wooded preserve with distant views of Hamburg Cove and the Baldwin Bridge at the mouth of the Connecticut River.

    Hike leader, Rob Smith, assisted by EHLT member Martha Tonucci, shared information about many of the trees spotted during the 2-hour hike.

    Visit East Haddam Land Trust on Facebook to see videos from the hike.

    EHLT's next scheduled hike is New Year's Day, 1/1/17. Watch for updates in the Events tab.

  • 23 Aug 2016 8:25 AM | Joene (Administrator)

    Audubon Connecticut and CT DEEP recently announced the establishment of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Connecticut, including the Lyme Forest Block.

    The Lyme Forest Block covers approximately 62,000 acres in East Haddam, Lyme, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Colchester, and Salem.  Most of the eastern half of East Haddam is within the boundaries.  The area is > 70% forested and includes East Haddam Land Trust’s Sheepskin Hollow, Ayers, Hammond Mill, Ballahack, Olde Field, and William Jezek Memorial Preserves. The Lyme Forest Block also covers all or part of the Eightmile River Wild and Scenic Watershed, Nature Conservancy lands, many private properties and several parcels of state land, including Devil’s Hopyard State Park, Babcock Pond and Zemko Pond Wildlife Management Areas, parts of Nehantic State Forest.

    IBA designation is a global effort started by BirdLife International, in collaboration with many local partners, to encourage successful land and natural resource management – what we call stewardship. Currently more than 12,000 worldwide IBAs protect essential habitat for bird species at risk for population decline due to habitat loss.

    The bird species of concern using Lyme Forest Block include cerulean warbler, worm-eating warbler, scarlet tanager, brown thrasher, eastern wood-pewee, and alder flycatcher. (Find info on these at All About Birds). These and many other bird species either nest or forage during migration in the young and mature forest of the Lyme Forest Block.

    IBAs create voluntary partnerships that prioritize efficient use of conservation resources using a science-based approach for strategic conservation planning and habitat improvement. All land within an IBA may be recognized as part of the IBA. Such status may bolster grant eligibility for habitat protection or improvement, but places no legal or regulatory restrictions on land.

    Find additional information at http://ct.audubon.org/ or at the links below.

  • 10 Aug 2016 8:44 PM | Joene (Administrator)
    The previous post of the sites seen when paddling to and from Chapman Pond, a preserved area along the Connecticut River in East Haddam, illustrates the current live along the Connecticut River. This Hartford Courant editorial describes what the Connecticut River once was.

    It took a lot of people and effort to clean the Connecticut River to what it is today, but the work is not done. East Haddam Land Trust is but one group working to make sure the Connecticut River, surrounding lands, and the waters that flow into it continue to improve.

    Keeping the Connecticut River clean requires the work of many organizations and citizens all along the river valley, from Canada to Long Island Sound. Each plays an important role. Join/support one ... or two ... to keep the momentum going.

  • 01 Aug 2016 8:20 AM | Joene (Administrator)

    Launch from East Haddam's Connecticut River boat launch, off Lumberyard Road just before the Goodspeed Airport parking lot, for an Haddam Land Trust's "Last Sunday" paddle, July 31, 2016.

    CT River downstream from East Haddam Swing Bridge

    A juvenile bald eagle watched from above as we approached the inlet to Chapman Pond.

    juvenile bald eagle

    Chapman Pond inlet

    Chapman Pond is mostly freshwater - only occasionally, during heavy storms and really high tides, does salt water reach this far north. Depth of Chapman Pond reaches about 16 feet during high tide. Shallower areas are only a couple feet deep.

    Kingfisher swooped for insects along the water, warblers sang from the shoreline trees. The shoreline vegetation is dotted with egrets and heron fishing for food. 

    heron along Chapman Pond shoreline

    Pickerelweed and perennial sunflowers attracted black and yellow swallowtail butterflies, while wild rice gently sways in the breezes along the shore.

    wild rice swaying in the breeze along the shore of Chapman Pond

    perennial sunflowers along Chapman Pond inlet

    Time paddles into Chapman Pond when tides are still high. The downstream inlet is shallow - just a foot deep in many spots, making low tide exits iffy.

    Back on the CT River, heading upstream, we spotted heads peeking out of an eagle's nest while mom and dad circled the area.

    eagle nest along CT River

    Father upstream an osprey watched from above.

    osprey perched on high

    The upstream view is highlighted by the shoreline vegetation and the view of the East Haddam Swing Bridge.

    CT River, heading upstream from Chapman Pond

    CT River downstream from the East Haddam Swing Bridge

    Two hours of pure relaxation and immersion in the natural beauty of the lower Connecticut River valley ... a perfect way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. Visit www.ehlt.org to learn about future paddles, hikes, and other fun events.

  • 27 Jun 2016 9:16 PM | Joene (Administrator)

    Links to some of the wildflowers and native plants observed during the hike:

    Whorled Loosestrife (Lysmachia quadrifolia L.): native, flowering time June-August https://www.ct-botanical-society.org/Plants/view/361

    Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa L.): native, flowering time June-Sept https://www.ct-botanical-society.org/Plants/view/63

    Round-leaved Pyrola (Pyrola Americana Sweet): native, flowering time June to August https://www.ct-botanical-society.org/Plants/view/499

    Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia L.): native, flowering time May to July https://www.ct-botanical-society.org/Plants/view/300

    Dwarf Huckleberry (Gaylussacia bigeloviana): native, flowering time June, threatened in CT https://www.ct-botanical-society.org/Plants/view/227

  • 12 Apr 2016 12:09 PM | Joene (Administrator)

    As published in East Haddam News, April 7, 2016:

    Rob Smith receives award for land conservation work


    East Haddam Land Trust Director Rob Smith is one of two recipients of the 2016 Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Land Conservation. Presented March 19 by the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC), this annual award recognizes individuals exhibiting long-term commitment to land conservation.

    “The Awards Committee was very impressed by the depth and duration of Rob's volunteer commitment to conservation and the multiple conservation organizations he has served over an extended period of time,” said Amy Blaymore Paterson, Esq., CLCC Executive Director.

    As a youth, Smith started realizing the value of preserving land when the woods and open fields of his childhood disappeared to development. With a college Forestry degree in hand, he began his career with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) as a state park crew leader and patrolman. He advanced to park supervisor and, at various times, oversaw approximately 30 parks, including Hammonasset, Devil's Hopyard, and Rocky Neck State Parks, before retiring as Assistant Director of State Parks in 2007.

    As Devil's Hopyard Supervisor, Smith facilitated the addition of about 130 acres to the Park, but also risked future career advancement by publically opposing, and effectively ending, DEEP's plans for logging there and in other state parks.

    Smith joined East Haddam Land Trust (EHLT) in the early 1990s, and was first elected to its Board of Directors in 1996. He has remained a director for most of the last 20 years, and served a total of nine one-year terms as President. He leads hikes and preserve maintenance, has developed nearly every trail on EHLT preserves, represents EHLT to multiple regional conservation groups and, over the last decade, has handled the vast majority of EHLT's land acquisitions.

    Understanding the value that preserved acreage brings to East Haddam, Smith strongly advocates for Town open-space funding and purchases. He is currently volunteer chair of the East Haddam Conservation Commission, which oversees the Town's open space parcels.

    Smith's tenacity for connecting local, regional, and state conservation groups to improve public access to preserved parcels is evident in two recent projects: the Richard H. Goodwin Trail and the Eightmile River Footbridge

    The late Richard H. Goodwin, a highly respected conservationist, believed that the public should have an opportunity for a true deep woods experience in our region. Smith conceptualized Goodwin's vision as a trail, over ten miles long, running through contiguous preserved tracts in adjoining towns. He garnered support through the Eightmile River Management group and the Land Trusts and Towns of East Haddam, Lyme, and Salem, and collaborated to link the trail to one proposed from Nehantic State Forest to East Lyme.

    While overseeing Goodwin Trail development, Smith also discovered that a missing footbridge over the Eightmile River, washed out in the June 1982 floods, prevented the connection of the trail from Route 82 through East Haddam's Chapal Farm Open Space. To remedy this, Smith procured funding from the Town of East Haddam, the Eightmile River Wild and Scenic Coordinating Committee, and EHLT for engineering and supplies for a new footbridge. He then supervised construction of the 75-foot span over the Eightmile River (see a construction video at www.ehlt.org), doing much of the hands-on work himself.

    Smith's tenacity, and ability to attract volunteer helpers, allowed the footbridge to open for public use on January 1, 2016. The Richard H. Goodwin Trail officially opens later this year.

    In announcing the award, CLCC's Amy Paterson said, “True to Katchen's legacy, Rob truly serves as a model of what one committed individual can do to make a difference locally and statewide.”

  • 25 Mar 2016 11:28 AM | Joene (Administrator)


    East Haddam Land Trust congratulates all the winners of the 10th Annual Land Trusts Photo Contest. The Land Trusts in Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, Essex and East Haddam, jointly sponsor the contest and announced the winners at a March 11, 2016 reception. In keeping with photo contest rules, entered photos celebrate the scenic countryside and diverse wildlife and plants found in the sponsoring towns.

    First prize in the Youth category went to Patrick Burns of East Haddam for “Sunset at Hatch Lot II.”

    East Haddam Youth entrant Sarah Gada received Honorable Mention for "Rooted."

    East Haddam Youth entrant Shawn Parent received Honorable Mention for  “Lonely Leaves.”

    East Haddam’s Pete Govert received Honorable Mention for “Sun and Ice” in the Plants category.

    A total of 219 entries were judged by Amy Kurtz Lansing, an art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum; Skip Broom, a local photographer and antique house restoration expert; and William Burt, a naturalist and wildlife photographer.

    Hank Golet, of Old Lyme, won the top prize, the John G. Mitchell Environmental Conservation Award, presented by Alison Mitchell in memory of her late husband who was an editor at National Geographic and championed environmental causes.

    The sponsoring land trusts ‒ Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust ‒ thank the judges as well as RiverQuest/ CT River Expeditions, Lorensen Auto Group, The Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Ballek’s Garden Center, Essex Savings Bank, Chelsea Groton Bank, and Alison Mitchell for their generous support.

    Winning photographs will be displayed at the Lymes’ Senior Center through March and the Lyme Public Library in April. Check www.ehlt.org for updates on where to see the winning photos in July and August, or view the winning photos online at https://landtrustsphotos.shutterfly.com/.

    Congratulations to the winners:

    John G. Mitchell Environmental Award

    Hank Golet, Old Lyme


    First Place Patrick Burns, East Haddam; Second Place Judah Waldo, Old Lyme; Third Place James Beckman, Ivoryton

    Honorable Mentions Gabriel Waldo, Old Lym;, Sarah Gada, East Haddam; Shawn Parent, East Haddam


    First Place Marcus Maronne, Mystic; Second Place Normand L. Charlette, Manchester; Third Place Tammy Marseli, Rocky Hill

    Honorable Mentions Jud Perkins, Salem; Pat Duncan, Norwalk; John Kolb, Essex


    First Place Cheryl Philopena, Salem; Second Place Marian Morrissette, New London; Third Place Harcourt Davis, Old Lyme

    Honorable Mentions Cynthia Kovak, Old Lyme; Bopha Smith, Salem; Pat Duncan, Norwalk


    First Place Mary Waldron, Old Lyme; Second Place Courtney Briggs, Old Saybrook; Third Place Linda Waters, Salem

    Honorable Mentions Pete Govert, East Haddam; Marcus Maronne, Mystic; Marian Morrissette, New London


    First Place Chris Pimley, Essex; Second Place Harcourt Davis, Old Lyme; Third Place Linda Waters, Salem

    Honorable Mentions Thomas Nemeth, Salem; Jeri Duefrene, Niantic; Elizabeth Gentile, Old Lyme

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