Traprock Field Trip

On April 29, 2017, Mattabeseck Audubon Society, with the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA), is pleased to offer a special trip to a variety of significant nearby geological sites. Leading the event will be Dr. Peter M. LeTourneau, author of the recently published book, The Traprock Landscapes of New England: Environment, History, and Culture, and Robert Pagini, whose photographs are featured in this work. The field trip, like the book, tells the story of the hard rock ridges that form the backbone that runs through the center of our state. Topics will include the geology, ecology, and human history of the area, beginning 200 million years ago and concluding with the present crisis to preserve the rocks and protect the unique plants and animals that exist only in the crags and talus of this ancient place.

Participants will meet at CFPA at 16 Meriden Road (Route 66) in Middlefield at 9 a.m. and end @ 2 p.m. Bring lunch. We will carpool to the various stops:

Stop 1: Black Pond state boat launch, Middlefield (Off route 66 near Meriden-Middlefield town boundary). Walking difficulty is moderate, about 1/4 mile on level but irregular and rocky terrain.

Stop 2: Giuffrida Park/Chauncey Peak, Meriden. Participants may split into two groups, one up a steep, challenging trail to the summit (<1/2 mile), one easy to lakeside vista and points of geologic and biologic interest (1/2 mile on level but irregular terrain).

Stop 3: East Peak/Castle Craig in Hubbard Park, West Peak, Hubbard Park (drive to summit). Easy walking, no access issues, some irregular, rocky terrain

There is no fee, but please email Alison Guinness at wjguinness@snet.net to register so that we have an idea of the number of participants.

Paddle With A Purpose, Motor With A Motive

The aquatic plant known as water chestnut (trapa natans) showed its invasive potential last summer at many points along the Connecticut River and its tributaries. In our own Floating Meadows, the freshwater, tidal marshland formed where the lower Coginchaug and Mattabesset Rivers converge, the presence of these plants was first recorded in 2009.  The Jonah Center has been monitoring the area closely since 2013, pulling out a few plants each year through 2015.

The summer of 2016 was different! Water chestnut proliferated as we have never seen before, forming expansive, dense patches at multiple locations. Left unchecked, these plants can choke off sunlight and oxygen, threatening native plants, fish, fish-eating birds and other aquatic species. Some waterways, including local ones, have become impassible by water chestnut infestations. For the coming season, work parties are planned for Saturday, June 10 at 1 p.m.; Saturday, June 24 at 1 p.m.; and Saturday, July 8 at 1 p.m. Canoes and kayaks will start and finish at the launch site at 151 Johnson Street, adjacent to Middletown’s recycling center. For each of these outings, we need many volunteers, including those with access to motorboats. Here’s why. Continue reading