The first quarter of 2023 has been an exciting one for Avalonia Land Conservancy. We have closed on three properties that have increased Avalonia’s conservation holdings and ensured their protection.
In early May, we closed on the transfer from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of the 272.05-acre Preserve, assembled by TNC over 17 years from three separate donors. Avalonia has had an association with the Preserve, in past years having managed the trail system for TNC that included former bridle paths.
Avalonia Board President Dennis S. Main noted that “the Pike-Marshall-Mummert tracts form part of a larger greenway extending from Lambtown Road to the Ledyard High School including the Town of Ledyard Burton property managed by the Town Conservation Commission. These provide numerous environmental educational and passive recreation opportunities. Avalonia looks forward to a close collaboration with the Town on the overall Management Plan for this significant greenway.”
The transfer from TNC continues a successful relationship that has seen several significant previous land transfers to Avalonia including tracts of the Bell Cedar, Bindloss, Cottrell Marsh and Barrett Preserves.
Richard and Mary Cooper Preserve
In mid-May, we received a 3.03-acre wetland and forested conservation parcel in a transfer from the Estate of Mary B. Cooper in the Hewitt Farm area of North Stonington. Located directly across from the main parking facility at Hewitt Farm, the “Richard and Mary Cooper Preserve” will provide excellent opportunities for passive recreation and wildlife protection and viewing.
Avalonia Board President Dennis S. Main noted that this parcel in the Hewitt Farm area adds to a considerable amount of previously conserved land and this previously privately-owned parcel had been trailed with well-maintained paths and wildlife viewing areas and will be retained as such in accordance with the Donors wishes.
Mary and Richard Cooper had been long-time supporters of Avalonia, with Richard passing away in 2018 and Mary in 2021. The Conservancy intends to manage the Preserve for wildlife and natural habitat with continued trailed passive recreation. Volunteers will work to clear old woods trails and erect appropriate signage at the entrance to the Preserve.
In early June, we closed on an important watershed conservation parcel in a bargain sale purchase from St. Mary’s RC Church Corporation, now known as St. Michael’s Church, Pawcatuck Connecticut. The parcel is small (1.4 acres) but directly abuts Stony Brook and the Avalonia Land Conservancy Fennerswood 5-tract Preserve which encompasses 94.14 acres along Farmholme, North Main Street and Pequot Trail in Stonington.
Avalonia Board President Dennis S. Main noted that “the adjoining Fennerswood Preserve Management Plan cites the productive preserve uses as ‘Provides habitat for local wildlife and protects Stony Brook. The Fennerswood parcels form part of a larger greenway area along the waterway from the north in Stonington in Avalonia’s Stony Brook Preserve to Sylvia’s pond and Paffard Woods and south Admiral Fife Naval Recreation Area to Quanaduck Cove’ and also cites that ‘Undeveloped properties abut to the west and north and should be reviewed for possible acquisition.”
The Conservancy Board of Directors approved the acquisition of the parcel that the Church had purchased from Thomas Harvey of Stonington on March 28, 1936, ostensibly for a Boy Scout Camp at the time. The Conservancy wishes to thank the Church for the bargain sale acquisition and the Church’s commitment to the conservation of this parcel which has provided undeveloped passive recreation use during the past century and will now be protected in perpetuity.