Blue Skies for the Annual Community Picnic

Blue skies and crisp fall weather prevailed for Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy’s (NCLC) annual, free picnic on October 1. The picnic drew over 100 visitors, including members, neighbors, and conservation partners to the 45-acre Hadlow Preserve in Sherman, one of the most beautiful vistas in the area. Picnickers enjoyed a barbecue lunch, flew kites, and played lawn games. After lunch, people took time to enjoy the surrounding woods and fields and soak up the autumnal splendor.

From her perch sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck, Linda Hubbard of Sherman, had a top-of-the-world view. As a fine art nature photographer and president of the Sherman Art Association, she feels a strong connection to the land. “I love conservation and protecting the land and I think NCLC is doing an incredible job,” she said. “It’s so important to save this land. It would have been so easy to develop it, to put up buildings here or someone’s big, gorgeous home. But to preserve it for us to enjoy and for me to be able to bring my grandsons here to hike on the trails is so special.”

Dedicated volunteers made the day possible, arriving early to set up long tables and yard games and to flip burgers.  At the end of the picnic, volunteers helped to make cleanup a breeze!

While children were playing lawn games or flying kites, many area residents were mesmerized by the view from Kemp’s meadow, named in honor of P. Kempton Mandeville, a long-time treasurer of Naromi Land Trust. “I have driven past here a million times and I have never been up here, it’s stunning,” remarked a first-time visitor.

Erik and Cheyenne of Sharon discovered the Hadlow Preserve two years ago and it quickly became their favorite place to walk their doberman, Scarlett. Catherine Heald and her husband Donald, live adjacent to the preserve and often explore the trails with their golden retriever leading the way (dogs are allowed on NCLC preserves provided they are on a leash).

The Hadlow Preserve is part of Mary Hadlow’s legacy who bequeathed the property to Naromi Land Trust in 1998. She donated multiple other properties to Naromi during her lifetime, including the heart of the Mallory Preserve, another public preserve in Sherman. In 2020, Naromi and Weantinoge merged to form NCLC.  NCLC is honored to celebrate Mary Hadlow’s legacy by inviting the public to experience the long views and cool breezes atop the hill.

Since 1965, NCLC has been dedicated to conserving working agricultural lands. In keeping with that mission, a large portion of the Hadlow Preserve is leased to the Leszczynski Family Farm for hay production. The preserve’s eastern fields are not mowed and are managed for grassland bird species of special concern, including bobolinks, savannah sparrows, and kestrels, which have begun to return to this protected land.