Volunteer Shoutouts: June 2020

Neil and Laurie Duncan Following completion of the transfer of the 77 Christy Hill road lot to Avalonia from the town of Ledyard, a subset of the Avalonia Ledyard Town Committee, led by town committee chairs Neil and Laurie Duncan, met on site to make an initial assessment of the work needed to convert the lot into a gravel parking lot for the adjacent Barrett Preserve as required in the terms of property transfer. The group size was limited to comply with social distancing requirements. Members on site wore masks and kept 6 feet apart from each other during the visit. As a result of the meeting a plan was drawn up for initial activities to include boundary marking, brush cutting, tree work and arranging for some old phone wires to be removed. Once this work is completed, plans for the parking lot can be drawn up and finalized.

Dick Conant, Sue Sutherland Dick Conant and Sue Sutherland installed the new Tri-Town Forest Preserve signage at the Miller Road trailhead in North Stonington on June 18th. The Tri-Town Forest Preserve consists of four co-joined properties: the yet-unnamed Dyer acquisition at Miller Road, the Linnea Richardson and Peltiers’ Lost Pond tracts on Richardson Road in Griswold and the Boyd Preserve on Rixtown Road also in Griswold. Dick has prepared similar signage for the Boyd Preserve and for the Dutka Preserve on Pachaug Pond in Griswold. Installation is on hold during Covid until such time that Avalonia can schedule “ribbon-cutting” ceremonies for these two new open-space additions to the Avalonia Land Conservancy.

Tote and Kathy Smith and (extended) Family Tote and Kathy Smith and their children (who are now young adults) are neighbors of the Knox Family Farm in Stonington. Tote has always been willing to help keep the trails open on the preserve, mow, and do extra maintenance. Through the years his kids have grown up developing a love of that land and a sense of ownership and a good stewardship ethic. Avalonia legally accesses the property through a deeded Right of Way (ROW) which needs constant maintenance as it fills in quickly with invasives. Due to COVID, we closed the ROW at the request of a resident on the property. Since we could not have teams working there, it became impassable by the time we could open it up to public access again. Kathy recruited her teens, and their local cousins, all part of the same Covid Circle. Together with Tote and equipment, and lots of muscle and youthful energy, got the ROW back open. Avalonia will try to establish a stewardship team to keep it open consistently, and the Smith family have offered to remain a part of that effort.

photo: The Smith family pulls together on the Knox Family Farm to open the right of way.