Caring for our World here at Home

The land trust’s annual events include hikes, lectures, property cleanups, our annual meeting, and events with other organizations. Our photo gallery will be updated regularly with highlights from some of these events.

More than 50 hikers joined Essex naturalist Phil Miller in an informative and entertaining hike at the Essex Land Trust’s Falls River Preserve in Ivoryton. Planned as a “get out and stretch your legs” after the traditional Thanksgiving festivities, the event was a huge success given the turnout and feedback from participants.

Over 25 participants joined the Sustainable Essex/Essex Land Electric Demo event held at Cross Lots on Saturday, November 4th. Essex Land Trust steward Tom Soboleski and Ann Penniman of Sustainable Essex organized a demonstration of non or less polluting lawn equipment. Featured were blowers, weed wackers, chainsaws and lawnmowers all powered by batteries or electricity. Many advantages were highlighted including, less pollution, lower noise level ,and cost effectiveness.

The Essex Land Trust is fortunate to have a motivated and committed volunteer stewardship team who dedicate thousands of hours of their time caring for the more than 650 acres of open space owned by the land trust. The Board organized an event to show its appreciation and give thanks with a pizza truck and other refreshments.

Some thirty kayaks and canoes gathered to inaugurate the recently installed kayak launch at the Essex Land Trust’s Fall River Park Preserve. The event took place on a beautiful summer day with bright blue skies and balmy temperatures. The occasion represented the official opening of this new facility which was supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex Country (the grant was made possible by the generosity of the Guilford Savings Bank Charitable Fund, the Herb Clark Family Fund, and the Whelan Family Fund). Attending festivities were Cynthia Clegg, President & CEO and Thayer Talbot, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer. After enjoying a leisurely paddle led by ELT President Jeff Croyle, which included circumnavigating Jean’s Island, many of the participants visited a Mill Pond member’s home to enjoy a cookout and refreshments. All in all, it was as nice a day as anyone could ask for.

Essex Land Trust members and friends convened on the longest day of the year to welcome summer.  Myron Stacks, one of the stewards of the preserve guided the hike through the Essex portion of the preserve.  Attendees enjoyed an informative hike with tips on woodland safety and tree identification being shared.  The evening concluded with hops, snacks, and friends at Surfridge Brewing.

It was chilly on Saturday afternoon when the Essex Land Trust kicked off our annual concert bringing back Mass-Conn-Fusion again. The temperature didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the hardy folks who bundled up for another great show! And we added face painters this year.

Forty Five participants participated in Essex Land Trust’s Millrace Preserve hike, in collaboration with the Essex Historical Society. The hike and history lesson, led by ELT steward Scott McCoid, focused on the history of the village, the industries responsible for its growth and the impact of the historic flood 41 years ago. A number of hikers were in the village back in 1982 and added to the story by sharing their personal perspectives of the flood.

The Valley Regional High School Warriors “rock”, once again. Several teams descended on Cross Lots, The Millrace, Osage Trails and Woodja Hill and helped  land trust stewards with clearing vegetation, improving paths and regrading a parking lot. They provided a huge help in sprucing up our preserves. A big shout out to the students and teachers that made it all happen.

The Essex Land Trust  held  its Annual Meeting at Essex Meadows, attended by approximately 100 members and residents. After the very pleasant reception where many were able to reconnect with like minded members, the entourage proceeded into Hamilton Hall for a report of the trust’s activities over the past year and plans for 2023. Special thanks to Mara Lavitt Photography for event pictures.

For the past seven years, the Essex Land Trust has supported Essex Elementary School in commemorating Arbor Day in Connecticut. The event involves 3rd grade students and the school’s 5th grade “Green Team.” They learn about Arbor Day, how it began in 1872 and the benefits in celebrating it across the US and many other countries. After reading their prepared statements and reciting poems, all the students ventured to the school grounds where a new tree is planted with the help of landscaper Fred Weber. The Essex Land Trust and the Town’s Tree Committee provide the funds for the purchase and planting of the tree. At the close of the event, Bartlett Tree Experts representative, Dan Estey, handed out dogwood tree saplings to all participants and encouraged them to plant them at home.

ELT’s Earth Day started with a cleanup at Great Meadow with the VRHS Environmental Club.  We followed that with the removal of a self-seeded swamp white oak from the Essex Library and replanting it at Cross Lots.  Our volunteers returned the favor to the Essex Library by thinning out bee balm in our Cross Lots pollinator garden and donating it to the Library.

Canfield steward Tom Soboleski led 20 folks on a 4-mile hike at Canfield on Saturday April 15th.  Tom highlighted a number unique characteristics of the preserve and afterwards half the group met up at High Nine Brewery for some socializing.

The land trust’s first hike of the year drew 20 participants. It’s still not clear if they came for the fresh air and exercise or the comradery we enjoyed at Scotch Plains Tavern after the event.

On the coldest morning this Fall, a hearty group of volunteers participated in the annual Cross Lots Cleanup. Many piles of leaves have been created which will be recycled at the Essex Town dump.

The rain delayed clean-up of Osage Trails took place on bright and somewhat blustery late Fall morning. Starting at 10 AM, the crews completed the task in approximately 2 hours.