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Field Trips and Workshops
2016 ScheduleField trips arranged by Martha McLaud Tonucci, CBS Field Trip Chair
CBS Field Trips are open to anyone with an interest in learning more about Connecticut’s Native and Naturalized Plants. This year for the first time we have labeled a few trips as “kid friendly”, based on the location, and whether leaders thought inviting children was appropriate. This designation doesn’t mean that there is special programming for kids, only that it ok to bring them if you think they might be interested.
April 16, Saturday, 10 AM
Meriden, Giuffrida / Lamentation Park
Should we have a late cold spring, this trip may be postponed until the following weekend, 4/24. If in doubt, call the leader a day or two prior to 4/16 at 802-318-1600.
Lamentation Mountain is a 700’ trap rock mountain in Meriden on the Metacomet Ridge. The top of the mountain has many scenic vistas, which are relatively easy to reach, with about a 400’ gradual rise in elevation, but not a difficult walk. Additionally, the area has many unique microclimates and rare plant communities. It sits beside Crescent Lake and borders Guiffrida Park. This will be an early spring trip to see many ephemerals in bloom: Dicentra cucullaria, Micranthes virginiensis, Sanguinaria canadensis, Claytonia virginica, Asarum canadense and Erythronium americanum. A large area at the end of the reservoir of Anemone americana always puts on a good show. We’ll see many other species on the walk down to this patch, and may explore further up the mountain as well. This will be an all-day trip, stopping for lunch on the trail. A half-day trip is optional.
Travel I-91 either north or south. Take Exit 20 and proceed west (left off exit from north or left, then right from the south) onto Country Club Road. The Park entrance is on the right. Parking areas are readily available at the Park. Trails start at the Crescent Lake parking lot. Giuffrida Park, 500 Westfield Road, Meriden, CT (41.556448°, -72.763941°)
April 30, Saturday, 9 AM
Pachaug State Forest by Wyassup Lake, North Stonington, CT
This is a joint trip with the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society. Pachaug State Forest is a massive 27,000 acres, and the portion north and west of Wyassup Lake includes a series of hills, ridges and wetlands. This is a two-part hike, with the second part optional. The first part is a one-way hike of 2.7 miles lasting about 3 hours. We’ll hike Cossaduck Hill with a hickory-hop hornbeam forest. Heading downhill, we’ll cross Yawbucs Brook as it flows through a dark, hemlock ravine. The ravine is broad and lush with ferns and mosses. After passing a beaver pond and its surrounding meadows, we’ll come to a park-like grove of sugar maples underlain with Christmas ferns, blue cohosh, and hepatica. The second part is a 1.5 mile loop north of Wyassup Lake lasting 1-2 hours to a series of steep ridges. We’ll explore the flatlands between them, where rich, fertile soil has built up and flowing streams keep it watered. Here among the sugar maple, tulip and ash trees you can find herb Robert, red elderberry, maidenhair spleenwort, blunt-lobed grapefern, cut-leaved grapefern, and more cohosh. Expectations are high for a beautiful display of spring wildflowers. Bring a drink and snack, and wear your comfortable hiking shoes. Most of our time will be on well-used trails with a couple small hills; moderate difficulty.
From the west: In North Stonington, from Route 2 (Norwich-Westerly Rd), turn east onto Ryder Rd. Go 1.6 miles and turn left (northwest) onto Wyassup Rd. Go 2.1 miles and turn left (northwest) onto Wyassup Lake Rd. Go almost 0.7 miles and turn right into the boat ramp parking lot. This parking lot is on the west shore of the lake. Map here: http://tinyurl.com/zrbvnof
From the east: In North Stonington, from Route 49 (Pendleton Hill Rd), turn west onto Wyassup Rd. Go 2.7 miles and turn right (northwest) onto Wyassup Lake Rd. Go almost .7 miles and turn right into the boat ramp parking lot. This parking lot is on the west shore of the lake. Map here: http://tinyurl.com/zrbvnof
May 7, Saturday, 9 AM
Branford, Lake Saltonstall
Lake Saltonstall forms part of the border between Branford and East Haven, and is managed by the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority. We will start in the lower area around the lake, which includes some wetland borders. We will then climb up to the top of the traprock ridge where spring ephemerals are mixed with numerous invasive species. Be prepared for steep slopes.
From I-95 Exit 54, travel north on Bushy Plain Rd./Cedar Street 1.25 mi to Hosley Ave. Turn left and go less than a mile to the hikers parking lot, at 400 Hosley Ave. in Branford.
May 14, Saturday 10 AM (Rain date Sunday, 5/16)
Wallingford, Tyler Mill
Tyler Mill is a 1000+ acre park owned by the town of Wallingford. The area has a variety of habitats, from trap rock outcrops to hayfields to floodplains. We will start at the floodplain of the Muddy River and will continue on to the low trap ridges. We can expect to see an oddity or two in addition to the abundant spring ephemerals. Plan for wet feet and ticks.
Southbound on Rte. 91(coming from Hartford): Exit 14, take left off exit onto E. Center Street, go over highway overpass, then railroad tracks, and in a mile or so take right onto Northford Rd. Tyler Mill Road and a small parking area will be on your right within 1000 ft. Northbound on Rte. 91 (coming from New Haven): Exit 14, take left off exit onto Rt. 150, take first right (there is a traffic signal). Go for about a mile and at end of road (at traffic signal), take right onto E. Center Street. Go over the highway overpass, and continue as above. GPS users may enter 30 Northford Rd Wallingford as the destination and the park is across the road.
May 21, Saturday, 10 AM
Vernon, Belding Wildlife Management Area
Traversed by the Tankerhoosen River and Railroad Brook, this 282-acre site is managed to maintain a variety of habitats, including grasslands, shrublands, and a pitch pine woodlands restoration area. 540 native shrubs (of 18 species) were planted in 2007. In 2009, 225 blight-resistant American chestnuts were planted among existing native chestnut sprouts to encourage interbreeding. Growing near Railroad Brook is an unhybridized, native-genotype butternut tree (Juglans cinerea). CT DEEP wildlife biologist Jane Seymour will accompany us.
From I-84 East: take exit 66 and turn left at the end of the ramp. Take the first right onto Bolton Road, and after .8 miles turn right onto Bread and Milk Rd. Parking is along the right side of Bread and Milk Rd. From I-84 West (corrected directions): take exit 66 and turn right at the end of the ramp. Take the first right onto Bolton Road, and after .8 miles turn right onto Bread and Milk Rd. Parking is along the right side of Bread and Milk Rd.
Connecticut Bioblitz: East Hartford, Two Rivers Magnet Middle School
This is a 24-hour inventory with command central at Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, 337 East River Drive, East Hartford, a wonderful facility on the banks of the Connecticut and Hockanum Rivers. The goal is to identify as many Connecticut species as possible: plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, invertebrates, etc. This year’s BioBlitz in East Hartford responds to the call from the National Geographic Society and National Park Service for every state to run a BioBlitz in 2016, in celebration of the Park Service’s 100th anniversary.More than 100 scientists will begin the species survey on Friday at Great River Park, and will canvass habitats found within a four-mile radius of the Two Rivers Magnet School. Surveyors will be sampling the Connecticut and Hockanum rivers, floodplains, forests, freshwater ponds, open fields, as well as more human-dominated and developed areas, and are hoping to catalogue more than 1,500 species. Website: http://web.uconn.edu/mnh/bioblitz/
June 5, Sunday, 10 AM
Pound Ridge, NY, Westchester Wilderness Walk (Zofnass Family Preserve)
This is a joint field trip with the Torrey botanical Society. The Westchester Wilderness covers over 150 acres of rocky woods, streams, lakes and wetlands. The trails and land have been assembled through the hard work of Paul Zofnass who offered the first contribution of land and then persuaded surrounding neighbors to also contribute land. The end result is a remarkably beautiful and protected wild wilderness. Wear footwear for use on rocky trails.
Exit 34 on the Merritt Parkway, to Long Ridge Road. Go north 5.4 miles on Long Ridge Road. Take a right onto Upper Shad road. Go about 1/4 mile and park on the pull-off on the left side of Upper Shad near the entrance to the Preserve.
June 11, Saturday, 10 AM to 2:00 PM (Rain date Sunday, 6/12)
Hampton, Cat Den Swamp
Cat Den Swamp is located in part of the Natchaug State Forest in Hampton CT. It is about a mile north of the old Hampton reservoir. This sphagnum dominated swamp has wild cranberry, cotton grass, Virginia fern and a wide variety of other wetland and bog habitat species. North of the swamp a pipe line offers a good stretch of xeric community plants and east of it we have a dry upland oak forest so botanizing should be splendid. Turkey vultures and porcupine nest and den in a rocky boulder strewn hillside adjacent to the swamp –this area has not been botanized in years.
Please be on time as we will meet and carpool from James L. Goodwin State Forest Conservation and Education Center, 23 Potter Road, Hampton, CT which is off of RT 6 (about 40 Minutes from Hartford and 8 miles east of Willimantic.) It is about an 8-minute drive from the conservation center to Cat Den Swamp. Directions will be available for latecomers, but be advised that access to Cat Den is via a wood road that is well maintained but higher vehicles will find it easier to navigate.
June 14, Tuesday, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Notable Trees of New Haven
This walking tour led by Frank Kaputa of the Notable Trees Committee is part of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Registration recommended. See details at: http://www.artidea.org/event/2016/2396
June 19, Sunday, 10 AM to 12:30 PM
Old Saybrook, The Preserve
On this trip we will be looking at the flora of the eastern portion of the 1000-acre Preserve, protected in 2015. It will be an off-trail exploration of uplands and wetlands on this seldom visited portion of the property. Anticipate doing a round-trip of 2-3 miles; terrain is uneven but not steep. Participants should come prepared to bushwhack, with appropriate tick protection, water, and snacks.
Meet at Great Cedars Conservation Area, 155 Ingham Hill Road. Directions are tricky. Exit 67 is different, depending on traveling north or south on I-95. Traveling on I-95 south: take Exit 67, turn right to go north on Elm Street/Ingham Hill Road for 1.3 miles. Turn left at sign for Great Cedars conservation Area. Traveling on I-95 north: Take Exit 67 toward Old Saybrook. Keep left. Turn left on Rte. 154 (Middlesex Turnpike) going under 95 overpass. Take next right to get onto I-95 south. Take Exit 67 to Elm St. Follow to Great Cedars Conservation Area.
June 22, Wednesday, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
East Rock Park, New Haven
This field trip led by Lauren Brown is part of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Registration recommended. See details at: http://www.artidea.org/event/2016/2322
June 26, Sunday, 10 AM to Noon
Madison, Salt Meadow Park—Kid-Friendly
This new park, formerly the site of Griswold Airport, contains a coastal forest remnant as well as native grasses, etc. Native plant restoration began in 2013 and we are returning to see the progress since our June 2015 visit.
From I-95 take exit 62 (Rt. 450) for Hammonasset State Park. Turn left (east) on Rte 1. Meet at the end of the parking lot of Salt Meadow Park, 1362 Boston Post Road (Rte. 1), Madison.
July 9, Saturday, 10 AM (Rain date Sunday, 7/10)
Woodbury, Flanders Whittmore Sanctuary
Whittmore Sanctuary is a poor fen where we could see northern yellow-eyed grass, pitcher plants, leatherwood and other bog beauties. There is a boardwalk into the bog. Earthtones Native Plant Nursery is a short drive away where they have created a bog garden and where we could stop to picnic.
We will meet in the parking lot of Whittmore Sanctuary on Rte. 64/Sherman Hill Road, Woodbury. From Rte. 6 in Woodbury Proceed east on Rte. 64 (Sherman Hill Road) towards Quassy Amusement Park / Middlebury for approx. 4 miles. The entrance to the Flanders Whittmore Sanctuary is on the left.
July 16, Saturday, 10 AM
Stonington, Peck Preserve of Avalonia Land Trust
We will survey a New England Cottontail habitat restoration project which was completed in 2013 on the Avalonia Land Conservancy’s Peck Preserve. The plan is to assess native plant regrowth species and diversity, and thicket habitat. We can also pull invasives. It is adjacent and inclusive of a powerline ROW where there are pockets of interesting growth. The project area provides little shade, and walking off the skid trail is rough, so wear sturdy shoes. There may be wet spots. Water and hat are essential.
Due to access difficulty, car-pooling is essential. Please meet at the Olde Mistick Village (Shopping Center) back parking lot, near the maintenance garage and Red Caboose. (Exit 90 off I-95.)
July 23, Saturday, 8 AM (Rain date Sunday, 7/24)
Barkhamsted, American Legion State Forest
A joint field trip with the Connecticut Ornithological Association and the New Haven Bird Club, combining birding and botanizing. The Buck Trail (blue blazed) can be difficult in spots, with climbs up and down the Tremendous Cliffs. We will also walk the Legion Road to the Turkey Vulture Ledges, an easy walk to a scenic overlook. The habitat is mostly hardwood forests with rich moist lower slopes and upper slope ledges with fine views of the West Branch of the Farmington River. Be prepared with insects repellent, tick and sun protection, water, and sturdy boots. Bring lunch or the Riverton Store is 2 miles away.
To American Legion State Forest take Route 44 east from Winsted to Route 318 east to Pleasant Valley, or Route 44 west from New Hartford to Route 181 north to Pleasant Valley. The parking area is about 2.5 miles north of Pleasant Valley and 2 mile south of Riverton. We will meet at the parking area near Camp White, the youth group campsite on the west side of West River Road, on the park road known as Legion Road.
July 30, Saturday, 10 AM
Norfolk, Aton Forest
Walk this area for landscaping not "by the book", naturalistic landscaping around the late ecologist Dr. Frank Egler's country home that is highly sensitive ecologically. The plants near the house are an impressive and very attractive example of managed native groundcovers and shrubs. For more information about Aton Forest see:
Meet at 10:00 on Saturday, July 30 at Aton Forest Headquarters, 270 North Colebrook Road, Norfolk. The easiest way via Colebrook is from Rte. 44, north on Rte. 183 for 6.8 miles, to a left on Church Hill Road. This becomes North Colebrook Road in Norfolk. Travel 1.3 miles from Rte. 183 to Aton Forest entrance on left. See green gate with 270 on post.
August 7, Sunday, 10 AM
Stonington, Groton Open Space Association utility right-of-way
The 306 acre Avery Farm property, added to GOSA’s holdings December 2015 will be explored. Dr. Robert Askins, Katherine Blunt Professor of Biology at Connecticut College, has called Avery Farm …”one of the most biologically diverse and valuable sites for conservation in eastern Connecticut.” This trip will examine the diverse flora of the Avery Farm powerline right-of-way which includes six species of club mosses, round leaf sundew, pink lady slipper orchid, upland boneset, hoary frostweed, northern withe-rod (Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides), and black and purple chokeberries.
From Center Groton (intersection of Rte. 117 with Rt.184) travel east 1.1 mile on Rte. 184. Turn left onto Lambtown Rd. and go 0.95 miles until you reach a metal gate across the road which prevents further travel. Park on the edges of the road. Please do not take the other Lambtown Road located farther north which links Rte. 117 with Colonel Ledyard Hwy. There is no connection to our meeting point from this direction.
August 13, Saturday, 10 AM
Haddam, Haddam Meadows State Park
Situated along the Connecticut River, Haddam Meadows State Park includes areas of sandy beach-like riverbank, tidal vegetation, a large managed meadow, and various other upland and wetland habitats. Sun protection and insect repellent recommended.
From Route 9, take exit #8 and drive northeast on Beaver Meadow Road. Take Jail Hill Road and turn left onto Saybrook Road/CT-154. Haddam Meadows State Park will be on the right. Alternate route: If traveling south on Rte. 9, take exit 10 (Airport Road). Go south on Rte. 154, through the village of Higganum. Continue about three miles to Haddam Meadows State Park on the left.
August 27, Saturday, 10 AM (Rain date Sunday, 8/28)
Litchfield, Topsmead State Forest—Kid Friendly
This is a beautiful area, and a spectacular bobolink breeding area in the spring. There will still be plenty of bluebirds. Topsmead State Forest is the former summer estate of Edith Morton Chase, who built the English Tudor style house on the property. Free guided tours of the residence might be available in the afternoon. We will explore Stair Pond as well as deciduous woods and a pine plantation. Level walking, but there will be tree roots on the path. Bathrooms are available at the house. Bring insect repellent, water and a bag lunch. Topsmead DEEP Web Site: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325076
From the East: Follow Rte. 4 through Farmington, Burlington, Harwinton. After Harwinton, go down the hill, and at the traffic light where St. Mary’s church is on your right, stay straight onto Rte. 118 until you cross Route 8, then follow directions below. From Rte. 8: take Exit 42. Go west on Rte. 118 (highway turns left just after the highway) for 2.0 miles. Turn left onto Clark Road to the stop sign. Take a right at the stop sign (by Wisdom House) then the first left onto Buell Road. The first right off Buell is the entrance to Topsmead. Drive to the parking lot. From Litchfield Center and Points West: take Rte. 118 east for 1.5 miles. Take a right onto East Litchfield Road. Take the first right onto Buell Road. Topsmead will be the first road on the right.
Sunday, September 11, 10 AM
Farmington and Avon, Farmington River—Kid Friendly
This is botanizing canoe/kayak trip emphasizing the flora of the flat-water stretch of the Farmington River. Interesting habitats include riverbanks, low and high floodplain forests and meadows, and sandy/gravelly draw-down shores and bars. Anticipate doing a round trip of about 10 miles, first downstream, then back upstream (there is very little current to fight, going back upstream). Participants must provide their own canoes, kayaks, etc., or arrange for a space in someone else’s boat (leader has 2 spaces). Attendees must please call or email Bill in advance that you plan to attend, and also contact Bill if you want to attend but do not have a boat.
Meeting place and canoe launch is a parking lot on the south side of Rte. 4, in Farmington, immediately west of the bridge over the Farmington River, 0.3 mi west of jct. Rte. 4 and Rte. 10.
Saturday, September 17, 10 AM
Harwinton, Bull Pond Preserve
The Bull Pond Preserve is 70 acres owned by the Harwinton Land Trust. Trails lead along a 20 acre pond and through the remaining areas of upland forest and alongside several marshes. Boardwalks and bridges allow visitors to walk the trails in the dry, but boots will be needed to retrieve plants from the pond or marshes. There appears to be a good variety of emergent aquatic vegetation, ferns, and shrubs.
Take exit 42 (Harwinton/Litchfield) off of Rte. 8. Head east on Rte. 118 for about 2.7 miles to the stoplight and continue straight (east) onto Rte. 4. Go about one mile on Rte. 4 and take a right onto Locust Rd. Go about ½ mile down Locust Rd. (past Town Maintenance Garage) to Bull Pond on the right across from the Harwinton Fairgrounds. Parking is available for several cars on the paved driveway leading to the pond, most parking will be available along Locust Rd. next to the pond and near the trail head at the sanctuary sign. Meet at the wildlife observation deck at the beginning of the trail.
September 24, Saturday (Meeting time and ferry departure TBA upon registration)
Branford, Horse Island in the Thimble Islands
This trip is dedicated to the late Penni Sharp, a longtime CBS member, director and field trip chair, and also a well-known naturalist in Connecticut and on Fishers Island. Lauren Brown, today’s trip leader, and Penni visited the Thimble Islands frequently and together authored a treatise about the islands’ vegetation.
Horse Island is one of the Thimble Islands, a granitic archipelago which harbor a distinctive assemblage of species. Horse is owned by Yale University but is not normally open to the public; all of the other islands, except one, are private. This trip is of interest not only for seeing coastal vegetation but also for seeing the effects of – and the recovery from - Storm Sandy. We took this trip a few years ago in June, but September will highlight different species. Transportation will be on a small ferry boat which only carries 14 people. You must reserve a space by contacting Lauren Brown at or (203)481-0377. There is a $10 fee per person.
Directions and meeting time will be given to those who register with the trip leader.
October 1, Saturday, 10 AM
Farmington, Winding Trails Recreation Center
The 380-acre Winding Trails Recreation Center is located north of the Farmington River in Farmington in the southwest part of Connecticut’s North Central Lowlands. Stratified sands and gravels cover the area, which is crisscrossed by several miles of gentle footpaths. We will explore a variety of habitats as we focus on the mosses and liverworts common to the area. Steve has a very comprehensive and impressive self-printed book of his Bryophyte inventory.
Follow Rte. 4 west about a mile from Farmington center to Devonwood Drive. Follow signs to Winding Trails. We will meet by the entrance gate, then proceed to the parking area.