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March 2022

- President's Corner
Hawk Hill Farm Updating Plan
LaSalette Trail Segment Restored
Donor Spotlight: Sten Caspersson
In the Community
Winter Outing in Speer Preserve
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President's Corner

by Vic Herson

Photo of Vic HersonAn important theme of this newsletter is “stewardship.” The word originates in the Old English “stig” and “weard” - house or hall and guardian or keeper. For land trusts stewardship usually applies to taking care of the land we conserve, both fostering a healthy ecosystem and promoting access to the land for passive recreation. Much of our Land Trust's annual expenditures and volunteer hours focus on these efforts. Recent improvements at Hawk Hill Farm and the LaSalette Trail detailed below are important examples.

Stewardship also describes our efforts to maintain the fiscal integrity of this organization, keeping it on sound footing for future generations. While membership dues fund the Land Trust’s limited operating expenses, we rely on the generosity of individuals and organizations in the community to sustain our land stewardship projects. Donors may be motivated to support a specific project or help wherever it’s needed most at the time with an unrestricted gift. Either way we are fortunate to have a number of such loyal supporters, one of whom is featured in this newsletter.   

It’s pretty simple: a healthy land trust ensures healthy lands. Thank you for helping us steward both.

Hawk Hill Farm Updating Plan

Hikers and passersby may notice a few changes as the Land Trust and partner, the 4 Five Farm, continue to ensure the historic Hawk Hill Farm property remains a sustainable, active farm. A non-permanent structure - a tubular frame covered by fabric - will be erected near the barn to shelter their tractor. Also the Land Trust contracted with New England Wrecking to remove the collapsing tin roof from the former manure shed behind the barn. The crew took advantage of frozen ground to minimize impact and saved as much debris as possible for reuse. The Land Trust plans to install a multi-use utility shelter in its place to support farm operations. 

Photograph of manure shed deconstruction

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also is providing technical assistance to develop a Farm Conservation Plan. Such plans help better manage a property’s natural resources to sustain farm productivity while protecting the environment and often are a prerequisite for other assistance programs. For example, mapping the wetland areas clarified how the lower field can be used, and testing the quality of former grazing soils suggested how they could better support growing vegetables. An area will be set up to compost materials generated by the farm, which in time will be used to further improve the soils. NRCS has been a key partner since the beginning of our Hawk Hill Farm restoration project, and we look forward to seeing their recommendations help keep the farm in active use.

(Photo by Vikki Reski)

LaSalette Trail Segment Restored

Erosion from severe rains last summer and drainage problems in Bloomfield’s LaSalette Open Space caused portions of the LaSalette Trail to become a muddy or icy adventure for intrepid hikers. Volunteer trail steward Drew Smith added stepping stones to a steep slope between the park pond and Anthony’s Way. 

Also, Bloomfield Public Works took advantage of winter’s frozen ground to bring in equipment that could remove debris at the park’s pond dam and elevate the existing drainage pipe. Land Trust volunteers will continue to monitor the pipe for clogs. Those actions are expected to restore the outflow to its intended channel and prevent the pond from overflowing across the trail. 

The LaSalette Trail traversing Bloomfield’s LaSalette Open Space - and the White Trail loop in the park - are collaborative projects of the Town and Land Trust. The designated route through neighborhoods, parks, and preserves connects Filley Park in the Center with the New England National Scenic Trail atop Metacomet Ridge in Penwood State Park. 

Donor Spotlight:  Sten Caspersson

Photograph of Sten CasperssonIf you visit the Land Trust’s Stout Family Fields, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter Sten Caspersson and his Miniature Schnauzers enjoying a walk. Or if you cycle past the Land Trust’s Hawk Hill Farm on scenic Duncaster Road. Or if you run in Bloomfield’s Farmington River Park. Years ago, outings like these during his lunch breaks at ABB Combustion Engineering in Windsor were part of why he and his wife, Marti, moved to Bloomfield. His work as a Senior Nuclear Project Manager sent him around the country and the world, followed by vacations to National Parks, Europe, and South Africa. Yet he always liked how easy it was to access beautiful natural spaces in Connecticut, and right here in Bloomfield.

Sten began working at ABB Combustion Engineering in 1968 after earning a Masters degree in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In later years he served as an executive scientist for the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering and an advisor for the Presidents’ College continuing learning program at the University of Hartford. Recently he served on Bloomfield’s Human Services Facility Building Committee.

Ultimately, it was those dog walks around the neighborhood where he met many neighbors who were members of the Land Trust. Over time joining them for the occasional stewardship work party evolved into him volunteering on the Finance Committee and more recently the Board of Directors. Observing board meetings as an interested member and seeing the progress on nearby projects such as Hawk Hill Farm resulted in his becoming a regular donor to the Land Trust’s annual campaign and special appeals. His donations often provided the first contribution received!

Sten explained that he appreciates how the Land Trust’s work is transparent, with results that benefit the community at large. Donors can specify that their contributions support specific Land Trust projects and attend meetings to understand how funds are spent. The results - an historic barn restored to use, hiking trails open to the public, wetlands protected from development, and more - are concrete and readily visible to donors and the community alike. He encourages anyone considering a donation to visit the Land Trust’s website for upcoming meetings and current project descriptions to learn more. We sincerely thank Sten for his many contributions both as a volunteer and a donor!

In the Community

The 4 Five Farm Chicks for Sale

The Land Trust’s partner at Hawk Hill Farm is accepting pre-orders for live chicks that will be available on various dates from Mar 25 - Jun 11. They also have eggs available every weekend!

Newgate Farm CSA Applications

The Land Trust’s partner at Thrall Farm is accepting applications for shares of produce in its Community Supported Agriculture summer program, with additional pick up days and locations this year.

NCCD Plant & Seedling Sale, Order by Apr 6

The North Central Conservation District’s annual plant sale is accepting pre-orders now. Plants will be picked up Apr 22-23 at the Land Trust’s Hawk Hill Farm.

Artists' Gardens in New England, Apr 6, 1:30 pm, Webinar

Dun-Land-Woods Garden Club and Bloomfield Public Library co-host a free presentation about the private gardens that inspired some of our beloved authors and artists.

The Importance of Bees, Apr 6, 6:00 pm, Webinar

The State Apiary Inspector will discuss the significant ecological role of Honey Bees and current research into their decline. Part of the Land Trust’s free nature lecture series.

Earth Day Guided Trail Walk, Apr 23, 1:00 pm, Hawk Hill Farm

Celebrate Earth Day with a free tour of this Land Trust project: scenic views, champion trees, local wildlife, and volunteer efforts to manage invasive plants.

Land Trust Board Meeting, Apr 27, 5:30 pm, Human Services Center

Join our monthly meeting to learn more about stewardship and volunteer activities. We plan to meet in person and switch to Zoom if needed; please contact us to confirm.

Arbor Day Ceremony, Apr 29, 1:30 pm, Bloomfield Town Hall

Join Bloomfield's Mayor, Town Manager, and others for the dedication of a new White Oak (aka Charter Oak) in the Town Hall Arboretum, part of the Trees for Bloomfield initiative.

Bats of Connecticut, May 4, 6:00 pm, Webinar

In the Land Trust’s last free nature lecture of the year, learn all about one of the world’s most beneficial animals and why eight out of the nine species found in our state are at risk.

Mother's Day Guided Walk, May 7, 10:00 am, Farmington River Park

Walk along the scenic Farmington River and learn about vernal pools, wildlife habitats, and forest trees in this free tour. Part of the Town's Trees for Bloomfield initiative.  

Winter Outing in Speer Preserve

On February 19 fifteen hikers and three dogs joined John Cappadona, our volunteer property steward, on a cold and blustery morning for the annual Winter Outing. With notice of the challenging footing and tricky stream crossings, we were well prepared with micro cleats, walking sticks, and ski poles to safely negotiate the varied hiking conditions we encountered. Everyone felt the extra effort was rewarded by a tremendous morning enjoying the stunning scenery and being out in nature in the Land Trust’s Speer Preserve and MDC Reservoir 6.

Photograph of four hikers in the woods
(Photo by Vikki Reski)
You are a member, attended an event, or expressed interest in the Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy, which formed in April 2023 by the merger of East Granby Land Trust, West Hartford Land Trust, and Wintonbury Land Trust. For best delivery, add our email to your address book. To change how you receive these emails, update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Wintonbury Land Trust is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1982 to promote the preservation, improvement, protection, and conservation of natural resources for the benefit of Bloomfield and neighboring communities. All rights reserved © 2022. Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy P.O. Box 734 Bloomfield, CT 06002 USA

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