The Latest News from CCT
May 12, 2017 - Bringing Nature Home - Salisbury Forum with Dr. Doug Tallamy
CCT is proud to co-sponsor the Salisbury Forum spring lecture featuring Dr. Doug Tallamy. Friday, May 12, 7:30 pm at the Hotchkiss School Auditorium. Doug Tallamy’s first book, Bringing Nature Home, describes the role of native plants at the base of the food web, which supports a spectrum of insects and in turn the complexity of bird life, and the many wildlife interactions above and beyond. This is contrasted with diminished interactive diversity where invasive plants have displaced natives.
Dr. Tallamy is Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, is the award-winning author of Bringing Nature Home and The Living Landscape, and is a prolific writer and engaging speaker. His books will be available after the lecture.
Inspired by the Tallamy talk, the Salisbury Association Land Trust is developing an exhibition entitled “Going Native” which will be on display at the Salisbury Association, opening May 6, 4:30-6 PM and be on view through the summer.
In addition, two invasive field workshops will occur on Saturday May 20, one at the HVRHS Invasive Management Area, North Campus, in Falls Village, from 9:30-11:30 AM, the other, during the afternoon at Sharon Land Trust’s Mary Moore Preserve, 24 Williams Road, Sharon, 1-3 PM. Invasive plant managers will be present at both sites, describing the processes at work in nature and various methods for the safe and effective control of invasives in large landscapes and in backyards.
April 22, 2017 - Earth Day Hike
On Earth Day, Saturday April 22, please join the Cornwall Conservation Trust for a walk and picnic lunch at the Welles Preserve Trail, on Town Street 4/10 mile from route 128. Meet at 11:30. Bring your own lunch; beverages provided. The trail is easy going and passes a marsh and old stone dam, then up the smooth contours of Bloody Mountain past large boulders at the top, to be rewarded by stunning vistas of Mohawk Mountain and the Coltsfoot Valley. Information about building trails, geology and wildflowers will be shared.
October - Annual Newsletter
Read our annual newsletter online!
August - National Recognition for the Cornwall Conservation Trust
On August 17 the Cornwall Conservation Trust, Inc., (CCT) a community based non-profit land trust, announced it has achieved accreditation – a mark of distinction in land conservation. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation, signifying its confidence that CCT lands will be protected forever.
Almost 15 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities – an area roughly the size of West Virginia – are permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.
“Receiving accreditation is an honor for our community,” said CCT president Barton Jones. “Our organization is stronger for having gone through a rigorous review.”
CCT, founded by community volunteers almost 30 years ago, seeks to maintain the historic rural character of Cornwall by conserving open space lands in Cornwall and adjacent towns and managing those lands to promote wildlife habitat, forest improvement, water quality, farming and public recreation. CCT owns over 1,000 acres and protects another 600 privately-owned acres through conservation easements that preserve open space and farmland.
CCT’s most recent purchases include an 85 acre mosaic of farmland and forest called the Cooley Preserve and 317 acres of forested land in West Cornwall – the Trinity Forest Preserve– a wonderland of recreational possibilities and an important wildlife corridor.
CCT was among 38 land trusts across the United States to achieve accreditation or to have accreditation renewed in August. CCT joins the more than 350 accredited land trusts that demonstrate their commitment to professional excellence through accreditation, helping to maintain the public’s trust in their work.
“It is exciting to recognize the Cornwall Conservation Trust with this distinction, said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Accredited land trusts stand together, united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. This network of land trusts has demonstrated fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership and lasting stewardship of conservation land.”
Each accredited land trust meets extensive documentation requirements and undergoes a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation application. The process is rigorous and strengthens land trusts so they can help landowners and communities achieve their goals.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission:
The Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization. The commission recognizes conservation excellence by awarding the accreditation seal. More information about land trust accreditation can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About the Land Trust Alliance:
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save places people love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million embers nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.
June - Welcome Cooley Preserve!
An 85 acre mosaic of farm and forest land on Cherry Hill Road in West Cornwall is now preserved according to the Cornwall Conservation Trust (CCT). The new Cooley Preserve includes farmland, open space and a forest filled with hemlock glades. Due its elevation the preserve offers 120 degree views of the magnificent terrain surrounding West Cornwall and the Housatonic River Valley. CCT plans to add a loop trail for recreation and to continue counting on local farmers to hay the fields.
The purchase price of $782,000, which is 66 % of the land’s appraised value, was raised through various state and federal grants and private donations. CCT appreciates the funding received from: a $450,000 Open Space grant from the Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection and a $225,000 USDA Farm and Ranchland Protection Grant. CCT also thanks the Connecticut Farmland Trust for helping making this transaction possible.
Read the entire press release here.
May - Welcome Trinity Forest!
The Cornwall Conservation Trust, Inc. (CCT) is very pleased to announce it has closed on the purchase of approximately 315 acres of forested land in West Cornwall. The Trinity Forest, which rises above the Housatonic River for over a mile to Dibble Hill Road, represents CCT’s largest land acquisition in terms of both acreage and investment.
Bart Jones, president of CCT, said the $715,000 purchase of this incredible landscape happened due to a remarkable collaboration of public and private donors. In particular Jones expressed appreciation to Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; and the Housatonic Valley Association and its Greenprint collaborative. In addition Jones thanks the Town of Cornwall and all those who contributed to make the conservation of this important forest possible.
Read the entire press release here.
August - Cornwall Conservation Trust to Seek Land Trust Alliance Accreditation
Cornwall Conservation Trust, Inc. (CCT) is seeking accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission (LTAC), an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. The land trust accreditation program recognizes land trusts that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. A public comment period is now open.
For CCT, the accreditation process has also been an opportunity to improve its practices and procedures as part of its mission to preserve and protect Cornwall land in a way that meets the high standards of care expected by the residents of Cornwall.
LTAC will conduct an extensive review of CCT’s policies and programs. As part of the application, LTAC invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how CCT complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards visit this page.
To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, click here, or email your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866. Comments on CCT’s application should be submitted by November 1.
January - Hip Hip Hooray!
The Cornwall Conservation Trust has announced that it now has commitments to fund the full purchase price of Trinity Forest thanks to support from the State, the Housatonic Valley Association and generous individuals. The Trust is now inviting everyone to become a friend of Trinity Forest by helping CCT raise an additional $45,000 for trail maintenance and a stewardship fund for future conservation work in the forest.
October - CCT is Celebrating!
We received a Connecticut state grant to apply toward the purchase of the 317 acre Trinity Camp Forest in West Cornwall in late October. This treasure of unbroken land sits above the Trinity Conference Center and abuts 665 acres of the Housatonic State Forest and CCT's 47-acre Brokaw Preserve - thus, creating 1,000 acres of continuous forest accessible to the public for the first time.
Old logging roads and trails already support abundant opportunities for walking, birding, snow showing and cross country skiing. CCT plans to create shorter and longer trails for easy to demanding walks. In addition to recreation for the community, the forest and wetlands provide an important wildlife corridor and habitat for bobcat, skink, turkey, mink and trout.
September - Cornwall Picnic & Family Fun Show
Our 2nd annual Cornwall Picnic & Family Fun Show held Sunday, September 14 was a huge success! Approximately 150 people gathered for great food and the "Skyhunters in Flight" show by Master Falconer Brian Bradley. View the photos here.
June - Trails Day Hike, June 8, 9 am to noon
Explore two old growth forests on a hike led by naturalist and Cornwall Conservation Commission member Ron Hummel. The hike starts at 9 am and lasts until noon on Saturday, June 8. Meet at Cathedral Pines parking lot for the first walk, then take a short drive to Ballyhack. Both walks are moderately difficult, bring water and snacks.
June 15, Bluebird Nesting Box Program
Learn about the bluebird nesting box program and visit young nestlings with local resident Sandy Fiebelkorn. Meet Sunday, June 15 at 5 pm in the Cornwall Library parking lot. This program is limited to 10, families are welcome. Please call Ron Hummel, 860-672-2325 for required registration.
April - Preserving the Forest at Trinity Conference Center for the public’s use and enjoyment
An exceptional opportunity for the Cornwall Conservation Trust
The Cornwall Conservation Trust, Inc. (CCT) is thrilled to announce it has agreed to purchase approximately 317 acres of forested land in West Cornwall from Trinity Church Wall Street. This treasure of unbroken open space sits above the Trinity Conference Center and abuts 665 acres of the Housatonic State Forest east of the Housatonic River north of Cornwall Bridge. The Trinity purchase, combined with the state forest and CCT’s 47-acre Brokaw Preserve, creates 1,000 acres of continuous forest accessible to the public for the first time. The Trinity land rises above the Housatonic for over a mile to Dibble Hill Road and will provide access to the state forest’s high ridges with exceptional views of Mohawk Mountain, Sharon and the river valley below.
“We are confident that, under the guidance of the Trust, this spectacular open space will be maintained in its natural state for the public to enjoy for generations to come,” said the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street. He added, “We are pleased that this sale, once concluded, will preserve the 317 acres of Cornwall forest” under the responsible stewardship of CCT.
CCT will pay $715,000 for the land. In order to complete the final sale, CCT president Barton Jones said the group plans to apply for an open space grant from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and will also seek private donations. Generous public and private financial support will be critical to CCT’s success in conserving the forest.
The forest is a Cornwall legacy dating back over 100 years beginning when the Rev. Edward H. Schlueter, a vicar of St. Luke’s Chapel in New York City, bought a farm alongside the Housatonic River. Father Schlueter ran a camp for needy children until he retired in 1945 and sold the camp to Trinity Church. Land was added over the years and hundreds of children visited the camp until it was phased out in 1994.
Thus, longtime residents of Cornwall think of the vast acreage as the Trinity Camp Forest - a place to enjoy the woods and to listen to owls and woodpeckers and the burble of a brook coming up from winter ice. Visitors can gaze up at tulip poplars or rest on a bed of pine needles, surprise a deer or porcupine or even a coyote or a bear.
While the forest is an important part of Cornwall’s history and scenery, it is also an essential element of Cornwall’s ecology, with deep ravines, boulder fields and two streams that flow into a 10 acre beaver pond, then on to the Housatonic River. The Forest and the wetlands provide a wildlife corridor and habitat for bobcat, skunk, turkey, weasel and trout.
Over the years various community members helped maintain the forest. A group of hunters annually marked paths, put logs across streams and discouraged garbage dumpers and ATV users from damaging the land. A local forestry company cleared storm-damaged trees and removed invasive plants along old logging roads.
The logging roads and trails already support abundant opportunities for public recreation and education. Those living near the forest and those visiting the downhill conference center have long enjoyed recreation there - walking, birding, hunting, snow shoeing and cross country skiing. CCT plans to create shorter and longer trails for easy to demanding walks. In addition, a small parking area will be added and maintained along a Dibble Hill Road trailhead.
The Rev. Bob Griffiths, who ran the summer camp in the mid-1970s and later the entire facility, remembers marking trails through the forest with campers. “The Trinity land is a great laboratory of wildlife, with coyotes howling at night and turkeys gobbling during the day,” Father Griffiths told a CCT board member who called him in February. “I hope and pray the Cornwall Conservation Trust saves the open space for posterity and generations yet to come.”
He’s not alone. When Trinity announced the property sale in 2012 on its website, commenters contributed memories of sleeping in forest lean-tos, hiking up hillsides and having “passed through a magical place.” One wrote, “I hope that the land will be protected in perpetuity as conservation land, so that people in the years ahead (and many non-human critters, too) can continue to enjoy God’s creation.”
CCT will be working hard over the coming months to preserve this forest for enjoyment by future generations.
Updates, pictures, maps and videos will be posted on our website: http://www.cornwallconservationtrust.org
March - CCT is currently in negotiations with Trinity Church Wall Street to purchase approximately 317 acres of unbroken forest land in West Cornwall near the Housatonic State Forest where there are lovely views and trails for hiking and winter sports enthusiasts. Read the Lakeville Journal article here.
February - The Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942....2014? - February 22, 2014 - at the David M. Hunt Library, 63 Main St., Falls Village CT. Reception at 4pm, lecture at 4:30 pm. Reservations required – call the library at (860) 824-7424. Paul K. Barten, Ph.D., Executive Director of Great Mountain Forest and Professor of Forestry and Hydrology at UMASS Amherst will speak on the Civilian Conservation Corps. Widely regarded as one of the most successful New Deal programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps helped our nation recover from the Great Depression. A novel collaboration of the US Army, US Forest Service, and State Forestry Agencies, the CCC reached a peak enrollment of 550,000 young men in 2,600 camps across the country. Their impact on the American landscape (tree planting, soil erosion control, park infrastructure, etc.) and the American lexicon (“Another day, another dollar”) is with us still. Successful programs like AmeriCorps and the California and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps—along with a familiar litany of social and environmental challenges and opportunities—have led many to call for a full-scale national CCC program adapted to the 21st century. Visit Great Mountain Forest for more information.
December - Land Conservation in Cornwall - Two woodland areas near Town Street in Cornwall will be preserved thanks to the generosity of their owners and neighbors. Roxana and Hamilton Robinson and five of their neighbors made it possible for the Cornwall Conservation Trust (CCT) to acquire 62 acres east of Town Street, which includes stands of hardwood, pine woods and a prominent ridge with rock outcroppings. This site offers panoramic views of Cornwall Hollow and Red Mountain. The Mohawk Trail, formerly part of the Appalachian Trail, crosses the property and can be reached going west from Johnson Road or south from Lake Road
“I found this property to be one of the natural gems of Cornwall as I hiked over it in the fall. I even flushed a woodcock as I walk through some brush,” said Bart Jones, President of the Cornwall Conservation Trust. “Future generations of Cornwall will be well served by conservation of this property thanks to the Robinsons and likeminded friends and neighbors.”
Through the generosity of the Prud’Homme family an additional 41 acres have been protected by a conservation easement donated to CCT. The land lies between Town Street, Lake Road and Cream Hill Lake. The easement not only serves to protect the southwestern shore of the lake from future development but it also creates a 148 acre wildlife block a mile in length, connecting the Trust’s 13 acre Dodd Preserve to its 90 acre Rattlesnake Preserve. The Trust is very grateful for these gifts as such land links are a key objective in conservation.
November - Southington’s Crescent Lake Recreation Area Recognized as Connecticut’s First Connecticut Grown Community Forest. Connecticut’s Departments of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and Agriculture (DoAg) have designated Southington’s Crescent Lake Recreation Area as the state’s first community forest to receive the Connecticut Grown recognition for sustainable forest management. Read the article here.
Deeply Disturbed: The Emergent Forests of the Future - Join us at our annual meeting to hear Peter Del Tredici, Senior Research Scientist at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum, discuss New England's woods of the future. Saturday, November 2 at 4 pm at Cornwall Town Hall. View the poster.
October - Vist the Connecticut DEEP website for the best locations to view Connecticut's fall foliage (besides your own backyard!). Whether hiking or driving, this website will point you in the right direction. Visit the website here.
September - Thanks to Americorps for their recent visit to Cornwall. The 8 member team did all but vacuum two existing trails: Rattlesnake and Day. And, with lots of muscle power, we are happy to report they established two new trails: One off Great Hill Road at the Blake Preserve and another at the Hare Preserve off Popple Swamp Rd. Take a look at the photos and captions for directions to the trail heads and parking. We've already received rave reviews from Cornwall neighbors enjoying these new scenic walks.
The Americorps workers from left to right: Victor Alvarado, Whitney Wooten, Wayne Sun, Sarah Kolb, Eddie Lee, Mignon Bryant, Kadesha Hayes and Megan Julien.
Below is the recently cleared Hare Preserve on Popple Swamp Rd. Driving west there is a CCT sign on the right, just past #38 Popple Swamp Rd. There is plenty of off-road parking. The trail, marked with blue tape, is both a loop and a spur trail that is about a 15 minute walk.
August - A conversation with Congresswoman Elizabeth Etsy on Protecting Our Forests, Farms and Wildlife - Join Elizabeth Esty at the Audubon Center in Sharon on Friday, August 24th from 2-4 PM where she will speak about the federal deduction for easement donations, conservation title of the Farm Bill, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and State Wildlife Grants. Patrick Comins, Audubon Connecticut’s director of bird conservation will speak about a new Forest Service grant that Audubon has received to work with large forest landowners in the NW Hills. There will be a Q&A with the audience, and informal socializing and discussion.
July - Join Geoff LeBaron at the Sharon Audubon Center on Sunday, July 21 at 1pm for Hummingbirds @ Home. This event is free! Audubon has an incredible tradition of citizen science. And, that tradition is expanding with the roll out of our newest citizen science initiative, Hummingbirds at Home. Hummingbirds at Home will use the power of Audubon to build a continent-wide network of citizen scientists to help uncover how hummingbirds are affected by climate change and provide the information necessary to devise actions to help them. Hummingbirds at Home is Audubon's first all-digital, mobile citizen science program. It leverages existing technology with ground-breaking innovation to crowd source rigorous science. Using a mobile-optimized web portal and smart phones apps, people from across the United States can report their hummingbird sightings. The data collected will help us understand how climate change, flowering patterns and feeding by people are impacting hummingbirds. Recent studies show that the blooming of hummingbird flowers and arrival of the hummingbirds in their breeding areas are getting out of sync. The Hummingbirds at Home website and app help people set up a patch in their yard, garden, porch, window box, park - or just about anywhere - where they can do plant surveys to keep track of hummingbirds and what they feed on. Sightings also can be logged outside a patch. During this program, Geoff LeBaron of Audubon will give a brief introduction to the Hummingbirds at Home program, before screening the PBS/Nature program called "Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air."
June - Water sport enthusiasts and others with a sense of adventure or an interest in exploring the Housatonic in Connecticut by being on the river now can avail themselves of a guide—and a free one at that. Read the rest of the Litchfield County Times article here.
May - On Saturday, May 11, Dr. Paul K. Barten, Executive Director of Great Mountain Forest and Professor, UMass Amherst, will present lectures on the Catskill Forest Preserve. This preserve was established in 1885 and protected as “wild forest, forever” with an 1894 amendment to New York’s Constitution. This designation represented a major change in public opinion and political will as well as an early success for the fledgling conservation movement. The landscape paintings of Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and other Hudson River School artists, the stirring fiction of Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper, and the writings of George Perkins Marsh and John Burroughs had a dramatic and formative influence on societal values and attitudes. This opened a new era in which the damage to forest ecosystems by tanbark peelers, “cut and run” loggers, and market hunters could no longer be reconciled with the “the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run” and a thriving tourism industry.
There are two opportunities to hear this lecture; one at 2:30 p.m. at the Hunt Library in Falls Village (860)824-7424 and another at 7:30 p.m. at the Norfolk Library (860)542-5075). A wine and cheese reception will be held 30 minutes prior to each lecture. Reservations are required; please call the libraries or contact email@example.com.
Mark your calendars June 1 at the Norfolk Library, Stephen DeStefano, Research Professor, Univ. of Massachusetts & U.S. Geological Survey presents "Meet Your New Neighbors - Black Bears (Ursus americanus)" - Deforestation and unregulated hunting extirpated black bears from southern New England in the mid-1800s. In the 1980s, a few breeding pairs wandered south and established the current population of several hundred bears in Connecticut. Black bears are intelligent and opportunistic omnivores that live about 20 years. Their size (up to 250 lbs. for females and 450 lbs for males) and shuffling gait belies their ability to run at up to 35mph. They also are agile climbers and strong swimmers and possess an incredible sense of smell. The bear population is expected to double every five to seven years so now is a good time for us to learn how to be good neighbors with this denizen of the North American forest. Visit www.greatmountainforest.org for more information.
April - New England cottontails were once abundant, but are now being considered for protection under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Largely due to dwindling habitat (brushy fields and young forests at least 10 acres in extent) this species range has been reduced by more than 80 percent. Learn about the collaborative efforts underway in Connecticut to prevent listing and how interested landowners can become involved in helping with this effort. Join Judy Wilson, Wildlife Biologist, Connecticut DEEP Wildlife Division for "The New England Cottontail Initiative in Connecticut" at The Douglas Library on Saturday, April 13 at 4 pm (reception), talk at 4:30 pm, in North Canaan. Call 860-824-7863 to register.
March - Mark Prezorski, Landscape Curator of the Olana Partnership in Hudson, NY will speak about Olana, Frederic Church’s Hudson River estate. Church, a key figure of the Hudson River School, is well known as a landscape painter, but his legacy transcends painting. As a conservationist involved with early wilderness and park ideas, Church created a three dimensional naturalistic landscape called Olana, which today serves as a focal point for preservation and protection of scenic vistas in the Hudson Valley. The talk will be held at the Norfolk Library on Saturday, March 30, reception at 4:00 pm, lecture at 4:30. To reserve seats, please call the library at (860)542-5075 or visit the Great Mountain Forest website.
Tim Maguire of the National Park Service, Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park in Woodstock, Vermont will be speaking at the Norfolk Library March 2 on George Perkins Marsh, an American naturalist, lawyer, diplomat and businessman whose ecological insights brought awareness to humankind’s impact on the earth. Marsh left a lasting legacy with his book Man and Nature, published in 1864 (with the added subtitle of “Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action” in subsequent editions). The book was a product of his extraordinary life and is filled with astute observations of nature and cultures from around the world. This presentation will highlight his life and multidimensional career that led him on his world renowned journey, and, ultimately to the book that has been aptly called “the fountainhead of the conservation movement.”
Reception 4:00 p.m., lecture 4:30.
To reserve seats, please call the library at (860)542-5075 or visit the Great Mountain Forest website.
February - The Kent Land Trust has added a 241-acre parcel to its holdings through a $1.7 million gift from Robert and Audrey Tobin of Warren. A portion of this parcel is located in Cornwall. Read the article here.
January - The Forest Lyceum 2013 - "Resilient Forests in a Rapidly Changing World" on January 12, 2013. The 2013 Forest Lyceum series of lectures and book talks is scheduled for January through June 2013. There are seven lectures scheduled at three participating libraries: Norfolk Library, Douglas Library (Canaan) and Hunt Library (Falls Village). See the schedule for details, and make your reservations. Brought to you by the Great Mountain Forest in Falls Village and Norfolk.
How is the State of Connecticut helping to preserve open space? Read this article published by The Republican American "State to allocate $9 million for municipal open space".
November 2012 - The CCT annual meeting was held on Saturday, November 17 at Cornwall Town Hall. Read a summary of the meeting published by The Lakeville Journal here.
October 2012 - Look for a CCT Facebook page and improved website featuring videos of local preserves and voices from the Cornwall community.
September 2012 - Conservationist and ecologist Harry White, a specialist in stewardship, science, and acquisitions in the land trust community, will begin a part time affiliation with CCT.
August 2012 - Hector Prud'homme, who served as CCT's President from 2002 - 2012, was honored at the annual "Farm to Table" dinner.