For your safety we changed our 5th annual WINE & DINE community-wide dinner and fundraiser to A TAKE-HOME HARVEST DINNER from Our Farms to You on Saturday, September 26!
- Fall is the perfect time to order A Take-Home Harvest Dinner filled with tasty, locally-sourced foods prepared by Executive Chef Jeremy Archer and his team at Gillette Ridge Golf Club in Bloomfield.
- We are happy to announce the participation of our farm partners – Newgate Farms and The 4 Five Farm – along with other regional vendors!
- You get to select either a chicken, fish, or vegetarian entree. Each option comes with appetizer, salad, sides, dessert, and special beverages. Dinners will be complemented with Autumn flower bouquets and other surprises.
- Drive to Gillette Ridge Golf Club in Bloomfield where we will deliver your picnic basket to your car, carefully prepared and packaged according to all sanitary regulations.
Purchase Your Tickets
If you did not already purchase your tickets for Wine & Dine, Take-Home Harvest Dinner tickets are on sale now. They are $85 for current members, or $95 for nonmembers (become a member for 2020 and save $10). Your reservation includes a sumptuous farm-to-table dinner and the warm feeling you’ll get helping us protect and connect people with our community’s natural resources, farmlands, and wildlife corridors. It’s a win-win for everybody. Eat well and do good! Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. Deadline is September 10. All directions will be sent to you along with date reminders.
- Register online with a credit card.
- Print a PDF registration form to mail-in with a check.
- Can’t join us? Make a donation or voice your support in the printed program.
- Questions? Contact email@example.com.
We cannot accomplish our goals without the support, involvement, and enthusiasm of our sponsors, donors, and volunteers.
If you want to help continue the important community work of the Wintonbury Land Trust:
It seems owls always have been surrounded by an air of mystery, probably because most are nocturnal and not easily spotted in the wild. During this free and informative webinar discover the extraordinary features of owls, including exceptional eyesight, hearing, and ability to fly silently. This is your chance to witness a live Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, Barn Owl, and Great-Horned Owl!
The webinar is presented by staff from Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation & Education in Ashford, CT. Their mission is to rehabilitate birds of prey for release into the wild in order to maintain their population and to educate the community to enhance awareness of the environment. “Asha” (pictured) is one of the Barred Owls in their care.
This is part of the Wintonbury Land Trust’s on-going Environmental Nature Series with Bloomfield Leisure Services. For everyone’s safety, we’re presenting this as a free Zoom webinar. No special software or user account is required, just a computer, tablet, or smart phone web browser. We need to send you a login password though, so definitely register for free as soon as possible.
Peter Picone and Ron Pitz provided a guided tour of Hawk Hill Farm’s beautiful, gently sloping trails. Peter is an urban wildlife biologist at the State Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, and Ron is the former executive director of Knox Foundation (and regular volunteer at Hawk Hill). They discussed the property’s many champion trees, native plants, and efforts to identify and control invasive plants.
(Co-sponsored by the North Central Conservation District, and rescheduled from their April 25 plant sale weekend.)
(L-R: Meadows provide habitat for wildlife such as Purple Martins hunting insects. Ron Pitz and Peter Piccone. A champion White Oak. Bittersweet vines overtaking Cedars. Credits: Paula Jones and Sharon Mann.)
Update from Charlie Horn: A recording of Margery Winters’ online webinar is available on our YouTube Channel, and Margery shared Planting for Pollinators filled with additional resources for protecting our native pollinators. Many thanks to our cosponsors: Bloomfield Beautification Committee, Bloomfield Conservation, Energy & Environment Committee, Bloomfield Leisure Services, and Simsbury Land Trust.
Margery is Assistant Director of the Roaring Brook Nature Center, President of the Simsbury Land Trust, and Chair of the Simsbury Conservation Commission, and her expertise was clear. She provided a riveting and information-packed talk followed by a lively Q & A to a large virtual audience. We gained a clear idea of the dangers pollinators are facing, especially our native pollinators, and she provided us with many ways to help protect and enhance pollinators:
Half of all plant species depend upon pollinators to survive. In Connecticut over 300 native bee species have evolved to depend on native plants. For example, the native Miner Bee feeds primarily on the Trout Lily, a lovely early spring wildflower whose flowers emerge just as the bee breaks dormancy, the Spicebush Swallowtail needs the native Spicebush, the Monarch Butterfly needs Milkweed to survive, and many other native pollinators are similarly adapted to forage on specific plants. An alarming decline in native pollinators is occurring due to loss of habitat for the native plants (often replaced by lawns – “a biological wasteland” – or pretty, non-native ornamentals that support far fewer caterpillars and provide less nutrition to pollinators), contamination from non-native commercial bees, and more extreme weather due to climate change. Also more broad-spectrum pesticides are used in urban yards than in agricultural areas, creating seriously negative impacts on native pollinators and resulting in more pesticides in urban streams than in agricultural streams.
What we choose to plant in our yards can have a big impact. Native plants are best to serve the specialized native pollinators. For example, native shrubs such as the American Dogwood do “double duty” offering both flowers and berries that are the right size for local birds, whereas Kousa Dogwoods are non-native with berries enjoyed by monkeys but too large for our birds. Plant for a full season of flowers, and be sure to include trees such as Red Maples and Shadbush that flower early. Goldenrod (not its allergy-inducing neighbor Ragweed) and the late-blooming Witch Hazel give pollinators good late forage. Mountain Mint is an absolute must and a very important plant for pollinating insects. It makes Bee Balm pale in comparison! Try planting in masses as it makes it easier for the pollinators when they don’t have to hopscotch over a garden to get to a specific plant.
She also recommended providing some water and a wet area for “puddling,” especially now as we are in a period of drought. Use non-toxic methods to control pests, and get rid of standing water on your property to deter mosquitoes before treating chemically.
More welcome advice was to let our yards be a bit messy! Give the solitary nesting native bees and other hibernating pollinators places to abide the winter in the brush pile, an unpruned shrub, or an unmulched bare spot. Seed pods on spent flower heads are a good source of food in the fall, so leave them standing. Leaves are a much better mulch than bark mulch, so do less raking. Bring some life into that barren lawn space, and let your lawn grow native violets and clover by raising the mower blade or even converting some of your yard to meadow. When asked about how to avoid running afoul of local weed ordinances or complaints of a messy yard, she responded she has found that making the yard look “intentional” by mowing borders and a path helps placate others.
Update from Zellene Sandler: Have you ever stroked a snake? They are smooth and cool to the touch, rather like satin. I like snakes, and Adam Harris’ webinar on Reptiles and Amphibians did not disappoint. It reflected his love and respect for these often feared or maligned creatures. Adam is the son of Seth Harris, founder of Harris in Wonderland, located at 364 Albany Turnpike in Canton. He earned a biology degree at Hartwick College and has been keeping and breeding reptiles for more than 20 years.
Adam began his talk with an easy-going, attractive Corn Snake and moved on to native Black Rat, Timber Rattler and other exotics, including his 12 foot long Ball Python which weighs 40 pounds! Adam displayed each snake and described its disposition, habitat, and diet.
Moving on to amphibians, Harris showed frogs and toads, a Bearded Dragon, a Leopard Gecko, and a lovely Tegu, indicating which make good pets. He also discussed the differences between turtles and tortoises and cautioned against releasing pet Red-Eared Sliders into the wild because of how they can harm native turtle populations.
Adam’s message was clear about our native reptiles and amphibians: the snakes are doing a good service for the environment by controlling rodents in our crop fields and gardens, and our frogs and toads control insects. He encourages us to enjoy these unique and useful creatures for what they are – even if they make us jump a bit when we find them in our yards!
This event was co-sponsored by Bloomfield Leisure Services. Thank you!
Wintonbury Land Trust held its annual membership meeting online so participants could reconnect, ask questions about the annual report distributed last month, and elect members to the board of directors. Below are links to some of the materials shared for the meeting:
- Annual Report with highlights of the year and a photo slide show
- Treasurer’s Report summary and details
- Election of the Board of Directors
- Upcoming events, especially Wine & Dine on September 26
- Recognition of volunteers and sponsors, including our major event supporters
- Met Hawk Hill Farm’s new tenant: The 4 Five Farm
The group hiking events planned across the state became do-it-yourself hikes to help ensure everyone’s safety. Most remain listed on the CT Trails Day website, many with videos to help plan your adventure. So in addition to the Land Trust’s trails, we encourage you to enjoy the three hikes we had planned locally to explore our community’s wildlife and scenic views.
Update: Although mosquitoes transmitting malaria receive the most attention globally, in the U.S. the majority of vector-borne diseases are transmitted by ticks. Dr. Kirby Stafford, III, State Entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, partnered with the Land Trust and Bloomfield Leisure Services to present a webinar on the natural history of ticks and health risks of tick-borne diseases. Additional information can be found in CAES’ online brochure, Ticks, Lyme Disease, and Other Tick-Borne Diseases.
Of the 16 tick species native to Connecticut, only 4 transmit bacteria or viruses to humans: Blacklegged Tick (the most common at ~80% of the ticks submitted to the Station for testing), American Dog Tick, Lone Star Tick (uncommon here but the most common in the southeast), and Woodchuck Tick (rarely bites humans). These are most commonly associated with Lyme disease (the most common at ~68% of tick-borne illnesses in the U.S.), Babesiosi, and Anaplasmosis. Researchers also are monitoring the invasive Asian Longhorned Ticks because it can cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These illnesses can present with a variety of rashes, fevers, muscle and joint pain, nausea, fatigue, and in some cases serious, long-lasting health problems.
Ticks are terrestrial insects found on the ground and lower vegetation where they can reach animals to feed on blood during the larval, nymph, and adult stages of their life cycle, mostly small rodents and birds but also deer, dogs, and humans. Only half of adult ticks may be infected and able to transmit a pathogen during a bite, and their populations are greatest in the spring and fall. But though far fewer may be infected, nymphs cause more infections because they are harder to see and most common in the summer when we are active outside.
So reducing leaf litter, invasive plants, and small rodent habitat in our yards can be among the most effective methods to reduce our exposure to tick bites. Wearing long pants and high socks treated with permethrin (min 0.5%) repellent is the most recommended personal protection method. When that’s not possible, DEET (min 25-30%), Picaridin (min 20%), or oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (min 30%) can help. Keep in mind it can take 24-36 hours for an infected tick to transmit a pathogen during a bite, so simply checking for and removing ticks remains your best defense.