Archive for December, 2017

Wilderness School Returns in 2017

The Wilderness School helped the land trust again in 2017.  The School returned for the fourth consecutive year, as our relationship with it continues to grow.  The School is run by the CT Dept. of Children and Families and fosters self esteem, personal responsibility, and interpersonal skills of young boys and girls attending the program.  As part of the program, the kids are required to perform community service.  They came twice in 2017.

In August the kids helped us rebuild a dike that’s needed to hold water in the 2-acre marsh at Forever Forest.  To do this-

They hauled 70 bags of sand and gravel, totaling nearly 2 tons to the restoration sites.

Then they helped land trust members build two check dams intended to retain historical water levels in the marsh.

Their work proved to be a big success.  The small dams withstood floodwaters that occurred in early November.  After building the dams, water levels in much of the marsh have continued to remain a foot higher than previously seen.  Hopefully, the higher water levels will improve ecological conditions in the marsh.

In November the kids returned just in a nick of time. Several days before their arrival, floodwaters washed out the red trail footbridge at Bull Pond.  The bridge was carried 150 ft. downstream, but remained fully intact.  The bridge was just too heavy for a few land trust volunteers to carry, but it was no problem for a big group of kids. They donned hip boots, jumped in the stream, pulled out the heavy waterlogged bridge, and carried it to the crossing site.  It fit perfectly upon its footings, as attested by the kids and their counselor.

The kids also faced having to wheelbarrow a huge pile of gravel to fill rooty sections of trail along Bull Pond.

They made short order of their work and the pile disappeared in a couple of hours.  Now the trail along the pond is smooth and much safer and easier walk on.

It seems that each time we’re visited by kids from the Wilderness School, we enjoy working with them even more.  We get difficult jobs done, have fun in the process, and really appreciate the kids’ hard work and enthusiasm.