Eastford Conservation & Historic Preservation Commission   Eastford CT
 
 
 

 

Click here for the 2011 Update re: local & state happenings

Our next meeting is the first Tuesday 
of the month at 7:00 pm in the Town Office Building

Visitors are welcome to attend and participate.

 

 

 

 

 

 
CURRENT MOON
 
 
 
 
UPDATE!
 

Winter 2011:  Brrrr.  We are really experiencing winter's splendor this year!  Eastford has received over 2 feet of snow in the last two weeks and an outdoor walk, snowshoe or cross country ski excursion are great ways to get some winter sunshine and boost your spirits.  Visit our trails section for ideas on convenient places to visit in town.  Late last year, too, we saw the renovation of the Eastford General Store in the center of town as it transformed into "Coriander" restaurant and general store.  It is nice to know we can set out for a beautiful journey in town, and stay local for a great cup of coffee and a delicious sandwich. 

The Commission continues to work on initiatives, old and new, for 2011.  If you would like to join us at a meeting, please come the first Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. 

And as fuel prices rise and it remains crisp out of doors, here are a few (common sense) tips for conserving fuel at home: 

http://www.oilco-op.com/Fuelin/

Autumn 2010:

Summer feels like it is winding down as Back to School is everywhere.  But have no fear, Autumn 2010 is right around the corner and brings with it Walktober 2010 via the Last Green Valley and many many other opportunities to get yourself outdoors and exploring. 

If you are interested in attending a Conservation Commission meeting, please join us.  The Commission is take action on the long list of 2010 projects  including vernal pool monitoring and trail stewardship. If you would like to volunteer for any upcoming projects, please visit our monthly meeting.

 

Spring 2010:

 

Spring is emerging everywhere and a saunter down the wooded trail will reveal buds pushing their way out of hibernation and nearer to bloom; The Commission too is shaking off the cold, and beginning to take action on our our long list of projects for 2010 including vernal pool monitoring and trail stewardship. If you would like to volunteer for any upcoming projects, please visit our monthly meeting or stop by the informational table at this year's Heritage Day at the Eastford Elementary School on June 12, 2010.

Winter 2010:

Hope your New Year is off to a great start!  The Commission continues to work out the details regarding appropriate changes and upgrades to the Rt. 44 "Frog Rock" property.
Many improvements are slated for the Spring at Frog Rock, and when Spring begins to show its warmth, volunteers will set out to maintain and monitor the recently completed Commission projects, including:  The Askew Nature Trail, the Boston Turnpike Trail and the Town Pound.
Please put Heritage Day 2010 on your calendar, the second Saturday in June, 2010.  We will be launching a website later this Winter and hope to make it an outstanding Town event.  The Conservation Commission will present maps and information - look for our display.
Last and not least, the Union Society House has a new roof!  Look for more improvements to come this year.

Spring 2009:

  • Vernal Pools! Frogs, Salamanders and many sounds! They will be emerging everywhere this Spring, but only for a limited engagement! If you would like to learn more, please visit www.vernalpools.org (The site hails from from Massachusetts, but quite relevant to our area) You may have missed the vernal pool workshop on April 4th, but fear not, it will be offered again. Please check the website often for updates on this an other workshop dates.
  • Camp Nahaco Clean Up day -- Are you eager to lend a hand. Choose the amount of time you have available and come on down to help. All ages are welcome and there is a children's hike planned for that day as well. See the Communicator for full details or email us. In addition, the Day Camp at Crystal Pond (at Camp Nahaco) is currently open for registration to Eastford & Woodstock residents, and residents of neighboring towns for an additional fee. Groups fill up quickly, so register asap if you want a spot. Camp begins July 6, 2009.
  • The Askew Trail should be complete and available for hikers with interactive guide and exploration backpack as of June 15, 2009. Stop by the Heritage Day event on June 13 at the Eastford School and visit our table for more information on the trail and the adventures that await. The guide and backpacks will be available from either the Eastford School Library or the Ivy Glenn Library.

 

Winter 2008:

  • Team Members of the Askew Trail Project have been out on the trail making some initial efforts to prune back the trail and define the bench, interactive and classroom areas. There will be a trail/work meeting Saturday, November 8 at the Askew Trail to further work on clearing and defining the area. All volunteers are welcome. Bring gloves, boots, water, tick repellent and tools. Special thanks to Roger Wolfe and the Boy Scouts who have been clearing and Mrs. Mead, the EES Science teacher, who has arranged to take students out on four days during October & November. Every little bit helps us toward our goal!
  • Priority Parcels are being identified in the Town of Eastford with the assistance of Mike Altschul from University of Connecticut. Parcels will be reviewed on November 4th at the Ivy Glen Library at 7 pm.
  • The Camp Nahaco Commission is seeking new members of all ages. Please contact Dick Woodward at Town Hall if you are interested.
  • Conservation Commision meetings are open to the public - visitors welcome.

Autumn 2008:

  • The ECHPC has been awarded a $2,170 grant from The Last Green Valley to enhance and improve the Geogre Askew Trail and to add an Outdoor Classroom nearby the school and the Still River. Intereactive educational materials will also be provided to the EES library as well as the town's Ivy Glenn Library. Please contact Deirdre Childs 208-1788 if you would like to donate materials, or help volunteer over the next 11 months to help complete this wonderful project.

Summer 2008:

Coming to nearby Ashford, CT on June 15th, 2008 the 2008 Farmer's Market. Join a selection of local farmer's, artisans, and bakers Sundays beginning June 15th from 10 am to 1 pm -- Located at Pompey Hollow - near the Ashford Senior Center off Route 44, across from Babcock Library. Growers are WIC approved. Find gluten free treats, organic coffee, handmade jewelry, maple syrup, local honey, baked goods, nursery stock and a growing abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as entertainment throughout the season. Any questions, please call Deirdre Childs at 208-1788.

 

 

Spring 2008:

Coming to nearby Ashford, CT on June 15th, 2008 the 2008 Farmer's Market. Join a selection of local farmer's, artisans, and bakers Sundays beginning June 15th from 10 am to 1 pm -- Located at Pompey Hollow - near the Ashford Senior Center off Route 44, across from Babcock Library. Growers are WIC approved. Find gluten free treats, organic coffee, handmade jewelry, maple syrup, local honey, baked goods, nursery stock and a growing abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as entertainment throughout the season. Any questions, please call Deirdre Childs at 208-1788.

Saturday, June 14th, Eastford will host Heritage Day at the Eastford School. Road race, parade and other events begin early. Come one, come all!

 

STEWARDS OF THE EARTH, 2008 by Mary Ellen Ellesworth

April 22, 2008 is Earth Day! What can we do on this day, and every day, to protect the natural world around us?

In our town we can:

1. Walk or bike to school, the library, and the soccer field.
2. Adopt a road and pick up any litter; NEVER drop any additional litter.
3. Plant a small tree or some flowers, using native plants, and avoiding pesticides, fertilizer, and chemicals.
4. Make sure that the places where we work, play, and study have good, energy-saving lighting [compact fluorescent light bulbs], proper ventilation, low noise levels, and adequate space.
5. Recycle toys, books, magazines, clothes. Someone else may find a lot of pleasure in our used products!
6. Be creative. A glass jelly jar can become an attractive vase; folded magazine pictures can transform into lively butterfly mobiles!
7. Support a local science institution, like an aquarium, zoo, nature center or botanical garden.
8. Compost .
9. Carry a reusable bag to the supermarket and other stores.

At home and at school, we can:

1. Turn off lights, computers, and electronic appliances when we are not using them.
2. Wear a sweater and turn the thermostat down two degrees.
3. Use both sides of every piece of paper!
4. Eat locally grown foods.

In the lunch room we can:

1. Fold and recycle clean paper products.
2. Wash out and reuse any plastic snack containers, or plastic utensils.
3. Bring a thermos or reusable bottle for beverages; if a single-serving plastic, glass or aluminum drink container is a must, wash it out & put it in the proper recycling bin.

On April 11, 2008, a number of teachers, students and community volunteers in Eastford will be sharing the beautiful story of The Tree Farmer. This 32-page book by Chuck Leavell and Nicolas Cravotta explains healthy tree farming, and points out all of the necessary and wonderful products that trees provide for us. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is another good read, presenting a parable of giving and receiving between a boy and a tree; it provides a sensitive look at the trees that too many of us take for granted. There are lots and lots of other good books about the natural world around us, and these books remind us of why it is so important to become proactive stewards of our planet.

Some may be wondering about the history of Earth Day. April 22nd this year will mark the 38th Earth Day! Earth Day was first proposed for our nation by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who urged environmental protest “to shake up the political establishment and force the issue onto the national agenda.” In retrospect, he noted, “It was a gamble, but it worked.” On the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans joined to begin conversations about protecting a healthy and sustainable environment; people from all parties and all walks of life joined in. Out of their raised voices came the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

By April 22, 1990, Earth Day had become global, with 200 million people in 141 countries participating. Recycling took main stage, and the day provided a big push toward the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Earth Day 2000 focused on global warming and the efforts to develop clean sources of energy. Hundreds of millions worldwide took part, in 184 different countries.

Earth Day 2008 is up to each one of us! Let’s get going!

Winter 2007:

Take a Hike! Did you know that there are trails in "downtown" Eastford? If you have some time this winter, put on some sturdy shoes and take a walk through history. Off of Old Colony and John Perry Road, you can access the Town Pound, and continue toward the Boston Turnpike Trail. PARKING: Limited parking can be found on the State Forest road (no name) and near the junction of rts 244 & 198 (off Old Colony Road). It is best to carpool if coming with a group. DOGS: Dogs must be on leash at all times. Please clean up after your dog. PLEASE REMEMBER TO STAY ON THE TRAIL. TRAMPLING CAN DESTROY NATURAL HABITATS. THE TRAIL IS OPEN TO FOOT TRAFFIC ONLY. MOTORIZED VEHICLES ARE NOT PERMITTED.

Welcome to Eastford's Boston Turnpike Trail! Here you will be standing on the ONLY remaining unaltered portion of an early road system that first connected our cities and town during colonial times. It was first established under King Charles II of Britain and followed trails laid out in much earlier times by Native Americans.

The Boston Post Road was not a single road, but actually a system of roads that connected the important cities of the colonies: Boston, Hartford, Providence, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Williamsburg and Charleston. The portion in Eastford was part of the Middle Route that ran east from Hartford to Putnam, then on to Dedham, MA and finally to Boston. The trip to Boston to New York via this route was about 225 miles - considerably shorter than the southern Boston Post Road that ran along the coast.

As the name implies, an important function of these roads was to carry the mail. Back in 1673 it took about a month for a letter to go from New York to Boston. First it was carried by horseback and then later by stage coach. These roads also gave farmers a way to get their goods to markets and were also important for moving troops during colonial wars and the American Revolution.

In order to raise money to pay for the upkeep of the road, the newly formed states of the United States allowed towns to charge tolls on their portions of the Post Road. The roads then became known as "turnpikes" because of the turnstiles where travelers had to pay a toll before passing.

At some places along the Boston Turnpike Trail, you will notice that the old roadway still maintains its crown at the center. This allowed rainwater to drain off to the sides - an especially important feature in the mud season! Although cattle drivers were permitted to use the route, the cattle had to be kept off the main road. You will see stone walls running parallel to the road in places. On the other side of these walls is where the cattle were permitted to walk.

This trail passes through part of the Natchaug State Forest (for more information - see the Trails & Recreation Page in this website), as well as over privately owned land. We thank the land owners who have given their permission for the public to use this trail.

The portion of the trail between Old Colony Road and State Forest Road passes through what is known as a typical maple/oak/hickory forest. Near to the State Forest Road, the trail passes through wetland habitat. A small bridge and short length of boardwalk have been constructed (by local talent and Conservation Commission member, Thomas DeJohn) to ease your passage through these areas.

The Boston Turnpike Trail continues through hardwood forest down Rt. 198. You can turn back and re-trace your steps on the old roadway, or follow the newly cleared loop trail and visit several different habitats. Along this section, you shall cross a stream, find stands of coniferous trees planted by the Connecticut DEP Division of Forestry, pass a vernal pool, and finally return to the old Post Road after passing by a lovely meadow.

Enjoy!

The Town Pound

The Historic Town Pound has been rejuvenated thanks to the collaboration of Tom deJohn, Sharon Lyons, The Conservation Commission and the Town of Eastford Pubic Works Department. This project has been on the agenda for quite some time and it is a pleasure to see the gate standing tall once more.

Fall 2007:

Water Conservation Guidance for Homeowners with Wells:

Some private wells run dry every [year], while others, which may be right next-door, flow without a problem even during a drought. Geographical or physical conditions of the soil or rock and well construction may cause these differences.

This guidance has been prepared to help people cope when groundwater levels are low and private wells run dry.

Do I have a Problem?
If you hear your pump going on more frequently than normal or experience water outages, or if air bubbles come out of your faucet, you well may be having trouble keeping up with your demand for water.

Where is My Well?
Where is it? How deep is it? These are some basic questions. If you do not know the answers, call your local health department. The well driller who installed your well may also be a useful source of information. A metal detector may prove useful in tracing buried pipes to locate your well. New pipes are generally plastic, but iron is often used in the installation of wells.

Why Conserve Water?
Cutting back on water use by refraining from outdoor use or doing laundry and limiting toilet flushing and bathing can significantly reduce your demand for water. Timing water use to spread out your water demand over the entire day may also help. Tips for reducing water demands.

How Do I Increase My Available Water?
A licensed plumber or well driller can inspect your well and may be able to lower the pump. This may increase the useable storage in the well and increase the extent of the aquifer from which the well can get water if the well is already deep.

Deepening your well is another possibility. Consult your local health department about the advisability of deepening your well and to obtain a list of licensed well drillers.

Increasing the amount of water storage through the installation of an atmospheric storage tank and/or transfer pump by a licensed plumber may help. Water in storage will be available for use as needed, for longer periods. This allows well water to flow into the well (recover) for a longer period of time before recharging the tank.

What Happens if I Run Out of Water?
If the groundwater level drops below the bottom of your well you are out of water. Deepening your well or drilling a new well may be a solution. If that is not feasible, it may be possible to connect a tank to your home and have water delivered by a bulk water hauler, although this may require the installation of an atmospheric storage tank and transfer pump. Your town health department may have information on local facilities for bathing, or filling containers for drinking water. Bulk water haulers are available but limited on their ability to deliver water.

What About Safety?
Any time work is done on your well, or you add water storage, or change delivery, your system should be disinfected to kill any bacteria that may have entered the system during the work procedure. A description of disinfection procedures is available from your local health department. Also private well owners should test their water annually for bacteria and other indicators, and whenever there is an evident change in quality contact your local health department for advice.

When Will Things Get Better?
This is largely governed by precipitation and is thus unpredictable. However, if conditions have not improved, relief can be expected normally around mid-October when evaporation and transpiration by plants declines. Following information provided by public water suppliers and your local health department can give a good indication of conditions.

Things to Remember
Do not fill your well from other water sources. The water will disperse into the aquifer. Your well is not a storage tank.

When in doubt, utilize local and state resources for information.

excerpted from CT DEP website 10/18/2007

 

September 2007:

  • CT DEP Advises Anglers And Boaters To Take Precautions To Prevent Spread Of “Didymo” Into Connecticut Waters

    Highly invasive alga found in Vermont in the Connecticut and White Rivers
    The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection today is advising anglers and boaters to be on the lookout for the highly invasive freshwater alga Didymosphenia geminata, known as “Didymo” and to take precautions to prevents its spread into Connecticut waters. The call was prompted when the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources recently confirmed that the alga has been found in the northern reaches of the Connecticut River near Bloomfield, VT, and at several sites along the White River, a tributary of the Connecticut River in central Vermont. This is the first official report of Didymo in the northeastern United States.
    During blooms, didymo can form thick mats of cottony material (typically gray, white and/or brown, but never green in color) on the bottoms of rivers and streams that can potentially smother aquatic plants, aquatic insects and mollusks, destroy fish habitat, and negatively affect existing food webs. Didymo is most frequently found in relatively shallow streams and rivers having a rocky substrate. Didymo is not expected to be problem in the lower Connecticut River or in lakes; however, it could have a large impact on fish and other aquatic organisms if introduced to the state’s smaller rivers.
    Humans are the primary vector responsible for the recent spread of didymo. Anglers, kayakers and canoeists, boaters and jet skiers can all unknowingly spread didymo. This microscopic alga can cling to fishing gear, waders (felt soles can be especially problematic), boots and boats, and remain viable for several weeks under even slightly moist conditions. It is recommended that water recreationalists practice CHECK, CLEAN, DRY procedures.
    • CHECK: Before leaving a river or stream, remove all obvious clumps of algae and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the affected site. If you find any later, do not wash them down drains; dispose all material in the trash.
    • CLEAN: Soak and scrub all items for at least one minute in either hot (140 degrees F) water, a two percent solution of household bleach or a five percent solution of salt, antiseptic hand cleaner or dishwashing detergent.
    • DRY: If cleaning is not practical, after the item is completely dry to touch, wait an additional 48 hours before contact or use in any other waterway.
    Thought to be native to far northern regions of Europe, Asia and probably North America, the geographical and ecological range of this freshwater alga has been expanding in recent years. Didymo has been spreading to diverse areas including British Columbia in Canada, the western US (especially Montana, South Dakota, Idaho and Colorado), New Zealand, and then into the southeast US (Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia). Didymo, a microscopic alga, has also begun developing massive blooms that can sometimes extend for several kilometers of river.

July/August 2007:

  • The annual removal of the invasive species, water chestnut (see Invasive Plants link) will take place at Budd's Pond on Westford Road in Eastford on July 7th.
  • Camp Nahaco Day Camp will begin next week and is open to all residents of Eastford and Woodstock, as well as neighboring towns for an additional fee. Please visit the Trails and Recreation link to visit the Camp Nahaco information page.

June 2007:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection is pleased to announce that a review draft of "The Green Plan: Guiding Land Acquisition and Protection in Connecticut 2007-2012" is available for public comment. This update, called for in Governor Rell's Executive Order 15 regarding Responsible Growth, is a strategic plan for land acquisition and protection for the State of Connecticut through 2012. When finalized, it will influence DEP land acquisition and protection decisions made on both direct actions and grants to municipalities, land trusts and water companies. It will also provide general guidance for program managers, serve as a tool for those who want to work with the State in preserving land, and offer a basic overview for the public of the DEP's land acquisition and protection program. The plan is posted on DEP Website Homepage under "Current Topics" where it will stay until June 29th. Comments should be forwarded to Margaret Welch, the DEP Landscape Stewardship Coordinator. Comments are requested by Friday, June 29, 2007.
  • Locally, Heritage Day will take place at the Eastford Elementary School grounds (see description in May Update Below!) on June 9th. Camp Nahaco is also enrolling for sessions beginning this July!
  • June 28th, Peter Tork (formerly of the Monkees) and his new band "Shoe Suede Blues" will play a benefit concert in Ashford, CT. Joshua's Trust plans to raise money for a $15,000 pledge made to contribute toward the purchase of development rights for Crooke's Orchard. Peter’s concert last year was a big hit, and Joshua's Trust expects this year’s event to be equally enjoyable. Place: Knowlton Memorial Hall/Babcock Library Building on Rt. 44 in Ashford. Time: 7:30 p.m. for wine and refreshments; music at 8:30 p.m. Donation: $25. per person for members; $30. for non-members*. Make reservations by sending a check to Joshua’s Trust, P. O. Box 4, Mansfield Ctr. CT 06250. Reservations should be received by June 20. *Please visit Joshua's Trust Website to join or to inquire as to how to get your copy of the Joshua's Tract Walkbook.

May 2007:

  • The Connecticut Land Conservation Council was formed in 2006 by the merger of two existing programs of The CT Chapter of Nature Conservancy: the Land Trust Service Bureau (LTSB) and the Land Conservation Coalition for Connecticut (LCCC). The The Council’s mission is to advocate for land preservation, stewardship and funding, and ensure the long term strength and viability of the land conservation community. The intent of the new Council is to enable our conservation community to better learn from each other and to even more effectively advocate for critical issues at the State Capitol. Visit: Connecticut Land Conservation Council for more information.
  • Locally, Heritage Day will take place at the Eastford Elementary School grounds on Saturday, June 9th. There will be a Book Sale, Conservation Information, Food, Local Vendors & Artists, and much more. Please contact the commission if you would like to volunteer, or if you have questions regarding the event. The George Askew Nature Trail - located behind the school - has been reblazed and provides a fine walk. Enjoy it if you can.

April 2007:

  • If you want to know more about the latest initiatives in conservation Statewide, visit CACIWC.ORG to read about the advantages in The Face of CT Campaign: a Green and Growing Vision for CT. "The Face of CT (FOC) has a diverse landscape of rolling hills, forests, rivers, farms, buildings and streetscapes that reflect CT's rich and diverse history. The Face of CT defines the character of our cities and towns, and our quality of life." It is an aggressive, visionary initiative to significantly increase the pace of land conservation, historic preservation, and urban restoration, to prevent sprawl from polluting our natural resources, and degrading the heritage of our communities." (Source: CACIWC.org, 3/21/07)
  • Local Stewardship Event to be held in Mansfield, CT on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007 at Mansfield Library's Buchanan Center from 7 - 9 pm. Charlotte Pyle, landscape ecologist with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Tom Worthley, UCONN Extension Forester along with local landowners will discuss "Getting to know your neighborhood's forest stewardship options: no action or active management" Landowners will provide perspectives on forest management. This event will be followed by an on-site field trip to Coney Rock Preserve April 28th at 1:30 pm. Contact Jennifer Kaufman at 429-3015 extension 204 or at kaufmanjs@mansfieldct.org.
 

March 2007:

  • Governor Rell established a State Office for Responsible Growth. Learn more about smart growth around CT by visiting: CT Smart Growth
  • Visit the LINKS page to find local contacts who may be able to assist you and family members with questions on Preserving Family Land. There are MANY ways to develop a plan for your family lands that can benefit you now and generations to come.
 

February 2007:

  • Stay posted for the Plan of Conservation and Development, as well as the updated information on the Town Pound and Town Cemetery Inventory.
 

January 2007:

  • Through support from the Green Valley Institute and the neighboring Town of Chaplin, a collaborative brochure focusing on Natchaug River preservation will be distributed. For more on the Natchaug, see Conservation and Historic Preservation.
  • Additionally, if you are interested in offering your opinions on activities allowed in CT State Parks, please visit: State of CT Notice of Intent to Adopt Regulations. A public hearing will be held on February 5, 2007.
 

December 2006:

  • Look for the new easy to use resource maps adapted from the Plan of Conservation & Development. Visit the Maps page.
 

November 2006:

 
October 2006:
 
Bungee Brook
Bungee Brook winds into Eastford, morning frost on the fields. Photo by Leslie Sweetnam, 10/20/2000
 

 
 


 
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
- John Muir
 
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