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THE Spruce

January, 2006


Annual Meeting || Phragmites Research || Eagle Scout
Upcoming Events || Conservation Award || Volunteer Opportunities

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Annual Meeting - February 8

The Annual Meeting of the Shelton Conservation Land Trust will be held at the Plumb Memorial Library at 7 pm on Wednesday, February 8. The meeting is open to all Trust members, as well as, the general public. Several important issues, which may determine how best to shape the future of the Trust, will be discussed and voted upon. Your attendance will be sincerely appreciated. In the event of inclement weather, a snow date of Wednesday, February 15, has been scheduled.

The meeting will feature a special presentation by Professor Roman Zajac from the University of New Haven. Professor Zajac and some of his students are conducting a research-study of Phragmites patches (See Phragmites Research article). In particular, they have been studying Phragmites on the Trust's Nicholdale Farm parcel.

Phragmites is an invasive weed species that has become increasingly prevalent in much of this area. The study, which has been on-going for several years, has already uncovered quite a few interesting facts. To learn more about this study, and Professor Zajac's research team, plan to attend the Annual Meeting.

The meeting will be held in the lower level meeting room of the library. The Plumb Memorial Library is located at 65 Wooster Street.

UNH Phragmites Research          (index)

The Land Trust was pleasantly surprised recently to learn about a research-study being conducted at its Nicholdale site. The discovery came about after a co-worker of a Trust Board Member mentioned that her class was going to be doing some field research at Nicholdale.

It turns out that an Ecology class from the University of New Haven (UNH) has been interested in the growth of Phragmites (another invasive plant species) along the pipeline easement. Phragmites is a wetland plant. It is basically a tall reed with a fluffy plume on top. Phragmites tend to out compete native wetland plants and create a monoculture, lessening the biological diversity of the wetland.

Students from UNH plot Nicholdale phramites locations.

Lead by Professor Roman Zajac, a group of grad students equipped with rubber boots, measuring sticks, GPS units, and other field equipment, regularly gather data from selected phragmites patches. These patches are (and have been for several years now) being monitored for their growth, height, and density.

The gathered data is plotted, and analyzed by the students, who later use their findings to form hypothesizes about Phragmites, and its impact on the local ecology. Their findings and hypothesizes are then presented at the end of the semester. Trust President Joe Welsh was recently invited to the end of semester presentations. Welsh said it was fascinating to hear the various thoughts and theories on the growth and control of the Phragmites patches. He noted, "These invasive plants are among those that are on our current list of invasive species that we are need to control." "We are keenly interested in the research work being done by the UNH faculty and students," he added, "and look forward to working with them in the future.

Professor Roman Zajac will be the featured guest speaker at the Trust's annual meeting.

UNH students measure phragmites at Nicholdale.

Eagle Scouts          (index)

Scout Ryan Hobbson (ctr.) is flanked by Trust board member Bob Wnek (L) and his dad by the side of the rail fence he constructed at Nicholdale.
Local scouts from Troop 28 and Troop 55 have been busy for the past several months working on their service project requirement for the Rank of Eagle Scout. The projects have been completed and the Trust is very impressed.

Ryan Hobbson, from Troop 55 has completed a rustic cedar split rail fence along the stream crossing at Nicholdale. The wood was harvested from the property; where some trees were choking off the others. The cedar was chosen because it ties in nicely with the existing cedar posts used for birdhouses scattered throughout the parcel.

Hobbson also cleared a portion of the stream corridor that was being taken over by invasive plants. A better view of the stream and historic stonewall were created once clearing was completed.

While continuing to improve the frail network at Nicholdale, AJ Keegan from Troop 28, proposed a project that added a new footbridge, as well as other frail improvements. The new frail is on the North side of the stream and takes you East to the new footbridge. Keegan obtained all the lumber for the project through donations. The trail leading up to the bridge was lined with wood chips. Invasive plant species in the area were removed. Keegan also installed some boardwalk crossings on wetter portions of the frail, and cut back some overgrowth.

The Trust extends its heartiest congratulations to these two outstanding young men, and sincerely thanks them for a job well done.

2006 Land Trust Events          (index)

The following meetings and events are bemg planned for the coming year.

2006 Board Meetings:
(Open to Tmst Members)
Location: Shelton Community Center - Craft Room 3
Time:7pm Dates: (Wednesdays)

March 15, May 17, July 19, September 13, and November 15

Work Parties
tentative scheduled in:
April, May, September and October.
Dates and times to be announced,

Two Planned Hikes
Hike One - A historic walk of Nicholdale Farm with Bruce Nichols
Hike Two - A walk around the loop trail at Tahmore Dr.
Dates and times to be announced.

Trust Earns Conservation Award          (index)

The Southwest Conservation District recently named the Trust its "2005 Outstanding Cooperator of the Year Award" for Fairfield County. The award was in recognition for the Trust's stewardship, and work with invasive plant species at Nicholdale. President Joe Welsh received the award on behalf of the Trust. Joe, and several other Trust members attending the ceremony were also treated to a special presentation by guest speaker Brendan Hanrahan. Mr. Hanrahan is the author of a four book series on "Exploring the Natural Wonders of Connecticut." According to Joe, ""We were delighted by a slideshow of natural resources and history of our state, related information about day trips to these interesting sites." ""There is definitely a lot to see and do in our home state," notes Joe. For more information on the Southwest Conservation district see their website at
Shelton Land Trust President Joe Welsh (3rd from left) poses with other recipients at the recent award ceremony.

Calling All Volunteers          (index)

We are looking for anyone interested in helping with our stewardship efforts at Nicholdale and other parcles. We are looking for people to help with educational outreach, hands-on management of invasive species, fundraising, grantwriting, news article writing, coordinating volunteers and work parties. We are also looking for reliable Trust Land Rangers to periodically supervise and report on assigned parcels of open space maintained by the Land Trust.

PO Box 2276 - Huntington Station
Shelton, CT 06484

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