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


2017 Events

Scroll down this page to view all of the activities planned for 2017. The public is cordially invited to all events listed here. Download a PDF copy of the 2017 Events pamphlet by clicking the image to the right.









Jan Poster  

Invasive Species

Wednesday, January 11, 7pm

Essex Library, 33 West Avenue


Learn about invasive plant species you’re likely to encounter in and around your home and the lower Connecticut River valley. David Gumbart, Director of Land Management for The Nature Conservancy, will discuss the value of native plants and share experiences in identification and control of invasive plants, including several that may be unfamiliar to the general public. He will include photos illustrating the diversity of our local landscape, with suggestions on how you can improve your own property or larger parcels of protected open space. David is also a member of the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group.



Winter Raptors Field Trip

Saturday, Feb 4, 1:00-5:30pm

Meet at Town Hall Parking Lot


Eagles, Hawks and Owls: an outing to search for birds of prey that winter in our region. Led by Jim Denham of ELT and Andrew Griswold of CT Audubon. Bring a bag lunch, binoculars and warm clothes. Two vans are available to seat the first 15 people who sign up. To reserve, please contact Judy Saunders at: by January 31st. Inclement weather cancels.




Feb Poster  

Save the Monarch!

Monday, March 6, 2 pm

Essex Town Hall, 29 West Avenue


A co-sponsored lecture with Essex Garden Club by Nancy DeBrule-Clemente, owner of Natureworks Horticultural Services, an organic garden center. The primary focus of Natureworks has been education and as a result Nancy and her team have become Monarch experts. Learn about the life cycle of the Monarch and its habitat. All are welcome.



Vernal Pools and Emerging Life in The Preserve

Saturday, March 25, 9am

East Preserve parking lot, Ingham Hill Rd.


Join ecologist and Ivoryton resident Bob Russo on a hike in the Preserve in a sBob Russo, ecologist and Ivoryton resident, is once again leading a hike in the Preserve to help you search for salamanders, frogs and plants emerging from the long winter. He will describe the biological and geological features that make the vernal pool areas unique and bountiful. Meet at the first/east parking lot. 1½ hours duration. Easy to moderate terrain. Bring tall waterproof boots and nets if you have them. Open to all ages. Bad weather cancels.earch for salamanders, frogs, and plants emerging from the long winter. He will guide you to a few of The Preserve’s vernal pools and describe the biological and geological features that make these areas so unique and bountiful. Meet at the first access parking lot. 1-1/2 hours duration. Easy to moderate terrain. Bring boots. Open to all ages. Bad weather cancels.



Geologic History of the Lower Connecticut River Valley

Tuesday, April 4, 7pm

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


Does what we know about the tectonic and glacial history of the lower Connecticut River (Middletown south) support the notion that the River once flowed to New Haven? What did the last glacier do to clog up the river as it melted northward? What happened to unclog it? These and other questions will be addressed by Ralph Lewis, certified professional geologist with 40 years of experience, State Geologist of Connecticut 1997-2003, and co-author on the “Glacial Geologic Map of Connecticut and Long Island Sound Basin”. Geology cruise with Ralph Lewis to follow on October 25… sign up after the lecture.



Essex Land Trust Annual Meeting

Thursday, April 13, 5:30 pm

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


Join us for ELT’s festive 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 are welcome.




March Poster  

The Preserve’s Vernal Pools Revisited

Saturday, May 6, 9 am

East Preserve parking lot, Ingham Hill Rd.


Bob Russo, ecologist, returns to the vernal pools in the Preserve to examine and explore the changes since our last hike in March. He will describe the unique biological and geological characteristics of this later visit to the vernal pools. 1½ hours duration. Bring tall waterproof boots and nets. Open to all ages. Bad weather cancels.



Birding and Nature Walk

Saturday, May 20, 10am

Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road


Former ELT President 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. Easy to moderate walking on trails. Cookies and refreshments provided at the conclusion of the walk, courtesy of Essex Meadows. Bad weather cancels.



Canoe/Kayak Trip North Cove and Falls River

Saturday, June 10, 2pm


Meet at the public Boat Launch, foot of Bushnell St., off of No. Main St. Bring your own boat for an early summer kayak/canoe trip into peaceful North Cove and Falls River, lead by Phil Miller. See the abundant wildlife and revisit the history of this waterway where many of Essex’s colonial ships were built. Participants should register on site and launch their boats prior to the 2pm departure. A safety boat will accompany. Bad weather cancels.



Concert in the Town Park

Saturday, June 10, 5:30pm


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




April Poster  

Trail Blazing Invasive Plants

Saturday, July 8, 9 am

Johnson Farm, Read Hill Road, Ivoryton


 Join Stewards Geoff Furtney and Dana Hill in identifying, managing and clearing invasive plants on Johnson Farm. This is a work project so bring loppers, clippers and heavy work gloves. Meet at parking lot for Johnson Farm, off of Read Hill Road, Ivoryton. Rain date July 9.



Butterfly Garden Party Walk

Thursday, July 20, 5:30 pm

Cross Lots Preserve, 40 West Ave.


Join us for an early evening exploration of ELT’s butterfly habitat with Anne Penniman. Bring your favorite beverage. Snacks will be provided. Rain date: Thursday, July 27.



Hike Turtle Creek Preserve

Saturday, August 12, 9am

Watrous Point Rd., Old Saybrook


One of the coolest places to hike on a warm summer day, these 92 forested acres, on both South Cove and The Connecticut River, are owned by The Nature Conservancy. Easy to moderate hiking. Leashed dogs welcome. Access off Watrous Point Rd. (Rt.154), Old Saybrook. Bad weather cancels.




May Poster  

A Hike in the Preserve

Saturday, Sept 9, 9am

West Preserve parking lot, Ingham Hill Rd.


Join us for a fast pace, challenging hike through the Preserve, starting in Essex to Old Saybrook with Chris Cryder who will guide you through the history of the Thousand Acres Preserve. 2 hour duration. Easy to moderate terrain. Hiking boots suggested. Bad weather cancels.


Source to Sea Clean Up on Essex’ Great Meadow

Friday, September 22 (NEW DATE), 9am

Great Meadow, between #143 and #145 River Rd., Essex


The Essex land Trust is looking to do its part in helping to clean the shores and marshes of our beautiful CT River and, specifically, on Essex’ Great Meadow. The event, coordinated by ELT and sponsored by the CT River Watershed Council, will also be conducted simultaneously by volunteers along the length of the river from Old Saybrook to Canada.  Meet for your assignment at the Essex Boat Club, at the far end of the dirt road accessed between #143 and #145 River Rd., the lane that also serves Pettipaug Yacht Club. Wear waterproof boots, bring gloves and come rain or shine. Refreshments will be served. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Connecticut River Valley Indigenous People

Wednesday, Oct 4, 7:00 pm

Great Essex Town Hall, 29 West Ave., Essex


Learn about the rich histories of Connecticut’s first land stewards, vibrant Native Indian cultures just before and after European contact. Dr. Lucianne Lavin, anthropologist and archaeologist is the Director of Research and Collections at the Institute of American Indian Studies in Washington, CT. Her lecture will focus particularly on the Wangunks, a populous, powerful tribe with homelands on both sides of the Connecticut River Valley. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Essex Historical Society, Deep River Historical Society and the Deep River Land Trust.



Annual Ivoryton Pumpkin Chase

Saturday, Oct 21, 7:30 am

Register at Ivoryton Village Green


Co-sponsored in part by the Essex Land Trust, the Ivoryton Pumpkin Chase will benefit the 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 7:30 am. Race starts at 8:45 am for children and at 9:15 am for adults. Parking in designated lots. Rain or shine.



Geology Cruise with Ralph Lewis on River Quest

Wednesday, Oct 25, 1:30 pm

Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam


Enjoy a fall cruise with Ralph Lewis, former CT state geologist, who will lead our trip down the CT River to explore ancient geological formations. BYO picnic/beverage. Reservations required: $30/person. Limited spaces available. Save your seat by emailing Judy Saunders: Bad weather cancels.




June Poster  

Native Americans of the Connecticut River Valley

Thursday, Nov 2, 7 pm

Deep River Town Hall, 174 Main Street


Nicholas Bellantoni, former CT State Archaeologist, will be our guide to Native Indian sites and cultures over the last 11,000 years in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The evening will include Indian artifact identification and demonstrations of Native Indian lifeways. This second lecture on early Native Indian life in our area is co-sponsored by the Deep River Historical Society, the Essex Historical Society and the Deep River Land Trust.



Cross Lots Autumn Clean-up

Saturday, Nov 18, 9am

Cross Lots Preserve, 40 West Ave.


Cross Lots lovers come help us put this Land Trusts preserve to bed for the winter, get a mild work out and connect with your neighbors in a beautiful setting. Refreshments will be served. Please bring rakes, blowers, etc. Families welcome. Dogs too. Rain date: Sunday, November 19.



Archaeology Hike at The Preserve

Saturday, Dec 2, 9am (NEW DATE)

West Preserve parking lot, Ingham Hill Rd.


Explore The Preserve from the perspective of archeologists Nicholas Bellantoni, and Lucianne Lavin. Learn the secrets of past lifeways and land use. Bad weather cancels.



Hike Doanes’ Woods and James Glen Preserves

Saturday, Dec 9, 9am

End of Navy Lane, Essex


Doanes’ Woods Preserve is a large flat wooded area which drops steeply to the east and adjoins the James Glen Preserve. These preserves include a wooded ravine with creek, rock outcroppings and spectacular tulip trees as well as other deciduous trees. Access is at the end of Navy Lane, off of Book Hill Road, Essex.