Events & Programs

Every year the Land Trust organizes a calendar of diverse events including hikes, lectures, nature talks, canoeing and kayaking trips, all featuring expert guest speakers and knowledgeable naturalists. All of these events are free and open to the general public.
2013 Events Pamphlet


2018 Events

Scroll down this page to view all of the activities planned for 2018. The public is cordially invited to all events listed here. Download a PDF copy of the 2018 Events pamphlet by clicking the image to the right.









Jan Poster  

The Falls River Estuary, Its Nature and Ecology

Sunday, January 14, 3 pm

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


Naturalist Phil Miller of Bushy Hill Nature Center will describe the flora, fauna and ecology of the Falls River Estuary and will elaborate on the area’s natural resources that were ideal for settlement by both Native and European populations. Lecture co-sponsored with the Essex Historical Society. Refreshments provided.



Connecticut and Climate Change – What is happening?

Wednesday, January 17, 7pm

Essex Town Hall, 29 West Avenue


Connecticut Sea Grant College Program Education Educator Juliana Barrett, Ph.D. will explore climate change impacts for Connecticut over the next 100 years, information and tools that are available and adaptation strategies to improve our resilience. Hurricanes Irene and Sandy showed just how vulnerable coastal Connecticut is to storm damage and flooding. These events challenge communities to come up with adaptation strategies to deal with impacts from climate.



Early Industries Along the Falls River

Sunday, January 21, 3pm

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


Brenda Milkofsky will present an examination of the mills, forges, cottage industries and larger manufactories all powered by this dammable waterway with its natural falls. She will explain how the development of all three of Essex’s villages depended upon harnessing the river’s waterpower. Lecture co-sponsored with the Essex Historical Society. Refreshments provided.



The Williams Shipyard at Falls River Cove

Sunday, January 28, 3pm

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


Dr. John Pfeiffer, Professor Emeritus, Archaeology, Wesleyan University, will address the historic Essex Williams Shipyard. Dr. Pfeiffer will explain how the shipbuilding complex’s foundations still lie beneath the river’s silt and will paint a vivid picture of early interdependent maritime trades, all operated by one family from 1790-1845. Lecture co-sponsored with the Essex Historical Society. Refreshments provided.



Live Raptor Presentation

Saturday, Feb. 3, 2pm

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


A Place Called Hope, Inc. is a Raptor Rehabilitation and Education Center specializing in the rescue and care of Connecticut’s wild injured, orphaned or ill birds of prey. This program is about protecting wild raptor species and how to lessen conflicts with wildlife in our backyards. The handlers will share resident raptor species with the audience for a unique close up. All ages welcome.



Maple Sugaring Event

Saturday, Feb. 24, 10 am - 2pm

Bushy Hill Nature Center, 253 Bushy Hill Road, Ivoryton


Attend a Maple Sugaring Open House with the staff at Bushy Hill who will be running the Sugar Shack. Discover their Maple Sugaring Process from tree to shack to table. You will be able to purchase some sweet liquid gold Maple Syrup too. Other Sugar Shack Open Houses are on February 17th, March 3rd, and March 10th. All ages welcome.




Feb Poster  

Conservation Practices at the NYBG

Monday, March 5, 2pm

Essex Town Hall, 29 West Avenue


Co-sponsored lecture with the Essex Garden Club, Brian Boom, PhD, Director of Conservation at the New York Botanical Garden will speak on conservation practices in Connecticut and at the NYBG. All are welcome.



Protecting Connecticut’s Groundwater Resources

Thursday, March 29, 7pm - NOTE: THIS IS A NEW DATE

Essex Town Hall, 29 West Avenue


Lecture on protecting Connecticut’s groundwater resources with a focus on the lower Connecticut river valley by Gary Robbins, Professor of Geology in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Dr. Robbins specializes in Hydrogeology and has been at UCONN for 31 years. He has published many papers related to CT groundwater resources.



Essex Land Trust Annual Meeting

Thursday, April 12, 5:30pm

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


Join us for ELT’s festive 50th Anniversary celebration, cocktail party and annual meeting. Light food will be served. Tickets ($30) for the cocktail buffet (5:30-6:30) will be available at the door. Business meeting and presentation that follow are free to all. Non-members welcome.




March Poster  


Sketching Birds from Life and Becoming a Field-guide Artist

Thursday, May 3, 7pm

Essex Town Hall, 29 West Avenue.


Interested in learning how birds are sketched from a renowned field guide artist? The Essex Land Trust and the Potapaug Chapter of the National Audubon Society are pleased to host a presentation by nationally recognized artist, Michael Di-Giorgio. The artist will describe his journey from tracking and observing birds in the wild to learning how to express their beauty and his feelings about them in drawings and paintings. All ages welcome.


Note: this event replaces the Introduction to Spring Birdwatching program planned originally.




Birding and Nature Walk

Saturday, May 12, 10am

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


ELT member and birder, Jim Denham, will lead a 1-2 hour walk through Essex Meadows’ woods to explore the peak bird migration and breeding season. You will see and hear dozens of species around this very diverse landscape. All levels of knowledge are welcome. Refreshments provided at the conclusion of the walk, courtesy of Essex Meadows. Bad weather cancels.



Canoe/Kayak around Thatchbed Island & South Cove

Saturday, June 16, 2pm

Public Boat Launch, Essex


Meet at the public Boat Launch below Essex Town Park. Bring your own boat for an early summer kayak/canoe trip around Thatchbed Island and South Cove, led by a naturalist. Discover the abundant wildlife and the history of ELT’s first purchase. Participants should register on site and launch their own boats prior to the 2pm departure. A safety boat will accompany. Bad weather cancels.



A Concert in Essex Town Park

June 16, 5:30pm

Main Street Park, Essex


Join us at the lovely Essex Main Street Park for an early summer BYO beverages/picnic and concert by the infamous Corinthian Jazz Band. Bring chairs, blankets. Relax, dance and enjoy! Bad weather cancels.




April Poster  

Kayak Race on Mill Pond

Saturday, July 14, 10am

Falls River Park Landing, Falls River Drive, Ivoryton


Join us for an informal, fun and family friendly race around Jean’s island, a seven-acre preserve on Mill Pond in the Falls River. Participants ages 12 and older should register on site and launch their boats from the Falls River Park Landing, located on Falls River Drive. Safety boat will accompany. Bad weather cancels.



Heron Pond Hike

Saturday, August 11, 9am

Heron Pond Road, Off Route 154, Essex


Heron Pond is a 25-acre preserve with two lively watercourses flowing down separate valleys with a ridge in between. An easy-walking terrain with trails reaching from high ground and rocky outcroppings to sandy streambeds. Discover traces of old roadbeds and stone walls hinting at the land’s early uses which included logging and pasturing of farm animals. Bad weather cancels.




May Poster  

Hike at Canfield Meadow Woods

Saturday, September 8, 9am

Book Hill Woods Road Entrance


A part of this land trust property was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Earl Canfield in 1968, making it one of the land trust’s earliest properties. A donation by the Nature Conservancy in 1985 completed the more than 300 acres of preserve shared by Essex and Deep River. It consists 17 trails winding through mixed old and new growth forest with many rocky outcroppings. Bad weather cancels.



Source to the Sea Clean Up

Sept (to be announced), 9 am

Great Meadow, Essex


Join us in cleaning the shores and marshes of our beautiful CT River. Sponsored by the CT River Conservancy, volunteers will collect debris along the length of the river from its source in Vermont to its mouth in Old Saybrook. Meet for your assignment at the Essex Boat Club (dirt road access between #143 and #145 River Rd. (the lane also serves Pettipaug Yacht Club). Wear waterproof boots and come rain or shine. Refreshments will be served. All ages and abilities are welcome.



Essex Land Trust 50th Anniversary Hike

Saturday, October 6, 10am

Windswept Ridge Preserve


Come celebrate the re-opening of this unique and greatly expanded property. Once just a neighborhood property, it has become a large preserve stretching from Ivoryton to Essex. With help from a professional trail builder, our stewards have created new and unique trails in this 40+-acre property, which consists of ridges, ravines and wetlands. Enter at one of the three locations: the Windermere Way entrance, the Windsor Lane entrance or the Plains Road entrance. Stewards will guide you to a central location where we will celebrate the re-opening of this very special property. All ages welcome. Boots recommended. Rain date: Sunday, October 7, 1pm.



Annual Ivoryton Library Pumpkin Chase 5K

Saturday, October 20, 7:30am

Ivoryton Village Green


Co-sponsored in part by the Essex Land Trust, the Ivoryton Pumpkin Chase benefits the Ivoryton Library and its programs. The 5K-race course winds through Ivoryton Village and the Essex Land Trust’s Falls River Preserve. 5K prizes awarded in 10 age groups. Runners 8 and under running in the Kids’ Fun Run will be given medals and invited to stay for craft and story time. Registration begins at the Ivoryton Village green at 7:30am. Race starts at 8:45 am for children and at 9:15 for adults. Parking in designated lots. Rain or shine.




June Poster  

Falls River Preserve Hike

Saturday, November 3, 9am

Falls River Drive, Ivoryton


A beautiful autumn walk, the Falls River preserve is a 40-acre peninsula of forest and ledge projecting into Mill Pond on the Falls River. The more challenging trails cross over ledges of 800-million year old metamorphic schist forming the peninsula’s spine. The Falls River was dammed in the 18th century to provide waterpower to run a gristmill, a sawmill and an iron works over the years. The land has been used for logging and pasture as recently as the 1930s. Bad weather cancels.



Cross Lots Clean Up

Saturday, November 17, 9am

Cross Lots Preserve, 40 West Avenue, Essex


Cross Lots lovers and dog walkers: come help us put this Land Trust preserve to bed for the winter, get a mild work out and connect with your neighbors in a beautiful setting. Refreshments will be provided. Please bring rakes, blowers, etc. Families welcome. Rain date: Sunday, November 18.



Year-end Hike at Johnson Farm

December 8, 9am

Read Hill Street, Ivoryton


Once a working farm, this 49-acre jewel of fields and forest in Ivoryton now offers trails across fields and through the woods. There are beautiful open sky vistas from several locations. If windy, bring a kite to fly. Trails are easy to moderate. Leashed dogs welcome. Park in parking lot on Read Hill Street, off of Comstock Rd. Bad weather cancels.