Northwest Connecticut: The Essential Link

Northwest Connecticut is a place of regional conservation significance. The region’s forests and cold-water streams provide habitat for more than 320 rare species. Our vast, natural lands are among the most complex and climate resilient in Southern New England and are centrally located in a multi-state wildlife corridor.

Click here to view a map of Connecticut’s portion of this essential wildlife corridor.

2022 Directors Emeriti

In 2022, three NCLC Board members were elected as directors emeriti in recognition of their extraordinary service, leadership, and commitment to conservation. Their work on behalf of Northwest Connecticut’s natural and working lands has created a legacy that will benefit future generations. We are so grateful for their service.
Kirsten Peckerman demonstrated her extraordinary commitment to conservation in Northwest Connecticut through her 13 years of service on NCLC’s Board. In addition, she served other conservation organizations, including but not limited to Steep Rock Association, Housatonic Valley Association, and the Washington Garden Club.
Linda Allard served as a member of NCLC’s board for 12 years. Linda is a natural collaborator and an exemplary leader whose support has been deeply appreciated by NCLC’s staff and her fellow directors. Linda’s commitment to good causes and generosity extends beyond NCLC to her work with The Garden Conservancy, American Ballet Theatre, Shakespeare Society, and local organizations like Housatonic Valley Association, Steep Rock Association, and After School Arts Program. Linda opened her home, Highmeadow, for special and much-adored community gatherings such as holiday cookie baking, apple cider making, and garden tours.
Helen “Lennie” Lillis served as a board member for a truly extraordinary 23 years. In addition, she also served the Town of New Milford through her years of service with other community organizations, including but not limited to the New Milford Conservation Commission, the Village Center Organization of New Milford, and the New Milford Implementation Committee for the Revitalization of Downtown New Milford, the New Milford Fireworks, Red Cross, Connecticut District FTD, Rotary Club of New Milford, and the Greater New Milford Business Association.
Three members of NCLC’s Emeritus Board, from left to right, Kirsten Peckerman, Linda Allard, and Hellen Lillis.

Volunteer Spotlight: Lou Memoli

Lou Memoli is the former president of Brookfield Open Space Legacy, Inc (BOSLI), the current chair of NCLC’s Brookfield Council, and a lifelong supporter of the environment. This month we asked Lou to share more about the role volunteering and the environment have played in his life.

Q: How did you become interested in the environment?
Lou: I have been an environmental enthusiast for most of my life. I’ve enjoyed hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife photography, and hunting (although I stopped hunting over 40 years ago). When I attended college as a biology major, all my electives were in the environmental sciences (ecology, field biology, geology) – I even participated in the first Earth Day celebration. I consider myself an environmental scientist but not in the way most people might think. As a health physicist I studied the effects of radioactive contaminants in the environment and their effects on biological systems… pathways much like those of pesticides and other toxins.
Q: Why did you decide to volunteer on NCLC’s Brookfield Council?
Lou: When I joined BOSLI, I found that I was among like-minded people and it gave me a new outlet for my environmental interests – one where I might have the chance to educate and influence others in the Brookfield community. I may no longer be the president of BOSLI but my love of nature and my desire to educate and influence others still remains and it is the reason that I am on the Brookfield Council.
Q: What do you wish more people knew about land conservation?
Lou: I think that most people consider conservation as being passive – keeping things from changing and while conservation is intended to preserve our wild and natural spaces – keeping it from development, it requires ongoing effort to ensure that the habitat remains viable for wildlife, that endangered or fragile species are protected, and that the quality of our soil, vegetation, and water are preserved. Now, with climate change upon us, conservation efforts need to be even more proactive. Soil, water, biodiversity, invasive species, carbon capture… all these areas require action. And now is the time. COVID has created new enthusiasm for the outdoors and this is an opportunity to engage with the public through social and educational events, sponsorships, and collaborations with the goal of creating awareness and fostering environmentally prudent public policy. NCLC is active in all these areas and this is why I continue to volunteer my time and effort.













Thank you Lou for all that you do for NCLC!

November in CT: The Link Between Acorns and Foraging Bears

As bears prepare for hibernation, they increase their food intake to 20,000 calories a day to build up energy reserves for winter. Acorns are a fatty, calorie-dense source that many animals, especially bears, rely on ahead of winter. This year, the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station reports widespread failure of the acorn crop. DEEP officials report that the lack of acorns could cause bears to seek out human-associated food like garbage. Avoid attracting bears to your yard by following some simple practices

What causes the fluctuations in the acorn crop? Oak trees, like many nut-bearing trees, are known for synchronizing seed production. The fluctuation is an evolutionary strategy called predator satiation. When the oaks in an area have a bumper crop of acorns, called a mast year, predators (chipmunks, squirrels, turkeys, blue jays, deer, bear, etc.) can’t eat all the acorns. This allows more nuts to grow into trees. The years of lean acorn production keep predator populations low, so there are fewer animals to eat all the seeds in a mast year.

Want to hear more about the interactions between oak trees and animals? Watch the Doug Tallamy presentation, The Nature of Oaks, and learn more about these amazing trees.

Annual Picnic at Hadlow

On a breezy, blue-sky September day, NCLC celebrated its first community picnic since the pandemic began at the 45-acre Hadlow Preserve in Sherman. The event, held on one of the region’s most beautiful scenic vistas, was a favorite annual Naromi Land Trust tradition. This year marked the first time NCLC hosted the event since Naromi Land Trust and Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust merged to form NCLC in 2020.

It was a perfect opportunity for members, conservation partners and leaders, and those new to NCLC to gather and share a barbecue lunch, fly kites, play lawn games, and learn more about the NCLC extensive trail network, which includes 21 trials with 9 in Sherman alone. After lunch, there was time to  kick back and enjoy one of the most glorious views in northwestern Connecticut.

Taking in the 360-degree view at the top of the meadow, Frank Ruiz of New Milford said he felt like he was on top of the world. “I am always looking for new places to hike and I will definitely return here with my dogs,” he said.












Dogs are allowed on NCLC preserves provided they are on a leash. Catherine Heald, who was walking her golden retriever with her husband, Donald, remarked on the success of the land trust merger. “We’ve been involved with what was Naromi for 22 years so now we are thrilled with the merger, I think it is so much better for everyone. We love this picnic and we are thrilled to  have all our friends from Kent and Washington here now, too.” said Catherine Heald.

The tables covered with red-and-white checked cloth were set up on a section of the field named Kemp’s Meadow after P. Kempton Mandeville, a long-time Treasurer of Naromi Land Trust.

Former Sherman resident Mary Hadlow bequeathed the Hadlow Preserve to Naromi Land Trust in 1998, and she had donated multiple other properties to Naromi during her lifetime, including the heart of the Mallory Preserve, another public preserve in Sherman.

A large portion of the  Hadlow Preserve is leased to the Leszczynski Family Farm for hay production. The fields on the easternmost end of the preserve are not mowed and are  managed for grassland birds. Species of special concern, including bobolinks and savannah sparrows, have been sighted on the property. A kestrel box, which American Kestrels use for nesting, was installed along the northern boundary, and several  kestrels have fledged from the box in recent years.

An Evening with Doug Tallamy – The Nature of Oaks

As much an engaging storyteller as a scientist, Dr. Doug Tallamy’s presentation, “The Nature of Oaks” will leave you with a profound respect for the oak trees in our landscapes and forests. Deemed a keystone species, this often outsized tree plays an equally outsized role in supporting numerous wildlife creatures.

Register online:

What can you expect to discover?

• How oaks play a vital role in our local landscapes.

• Why those leaves are so important in summer and winter.

• Why we should save our mature oaks.

• Why we should all plant more oaks in our neighborhoods.

Our renowned speaker is Doug Tallamy, the T. A. Baker Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 106 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 41 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home was published by Timber Press in 2007, The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014; Nature’s Best Hope, a New York Times Best Seller, was released in February 2020, and his latest book The Nature of Oaks was released by Timber press in March 2021. In 2021 he cofounded Homegrown National Park with Michelle Alfandari. His awards include recognition from The Garden Writer’s Association, Audubon, The National Wildlife Federation, The Garden Club of America and The American Horticultural Association.

The presentation by Dr. Tallamy will delight us with a month-by-month look at oak trees, beginning in October. A blue jay will co-star with the oak in this first monthly snapshot. Each season our oak trees play an important role, from helping the tiniest insects survive winter, to protecting our waterways, to feeding and sheltering our winged favorites from butterflies to bluejays. The presentation will conclude with a look at various oak species suitable for planting in a variety of situations.

By the end of the presentation we might just all be tree huggers and oak tree planters!

About this evening’s event partners

Deer Pond Farm – Connecticut Audubon is an 835-acre preserve in Sherman. The Connecticut Audubon society protects Connecticut’s birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through conservation, education, and advocacy.

Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy is a nonprofit, regional conservation organization working with the communities of Litchfield and northern Fairfield Counties to safeguard natural and working lands, public recreation areas, and drinking water resources forever. Founded in 1965, NCLC is the largest land trust in Connecticut, protecting 13,000 acres (and growing) of vast, connected natural areas. NCLC’s conserved lands include 21 public hiking preserves, 41 working farms, and over 3,000 acres of habitat for rare and endangered species.

Sherman Conservation Commission Our mission is to protect the natural environment of Sherman and all of its resources. The commission’s statutory obligation is to make environmental impact reports on proposed subdivisions, which will be submitted to the Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission.

Sherman Library is a community resource, freely available to all. The library responds to the public’s need for information, education and recreation. With books at its core, the library provides a wide range of materials, both print and non-print. It is the community’s center for lifelong learning. By incorporating new developments in technology the library ensures that its resources are accurate, timely and responsive to those it serves.

August 2022 E-Newsletter

Summer feels like it is winding down, but here at NCLC, we are still going strong. In this newsletter, we share six upcoming events that allow you to connect with friends and nature, from guided hikes to social networking opportunities. In addition, the return of an in-person Annual Picnic on September 24 in Sherman is not to be missed. Click here to read the full newsletter.
In addition, we share a new video, a Midsummer Party update, four recent conservation publications, and employment opportunities here at NCLC.
I hope to have the opportunity to see you at one of our upcoming events. And, as always, please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have questions about our work or would like to become more involved.
Thank you for your support of the land, conservation, and NCLC.

Spotted: Red-headed Woodpecker

 An NCLC member shared this terrific photo of an adult Red-headed Woodpecker. Red-headed woodpeckers are endangered in the state of Connecticut. It is one of the rarest breeding birds in the state.
What does this woodpecker have in common with squirrels? This bird stashes food. Four of the 23 woodpecker species in North America are known to store food, but only the red-headed woodpecker covers its stash with wood or bark. These birds will stash insects, seeds, and acorns into cracks in trees, fence posts, and even shingles. They are also strong fliers and able to catch insects, like grasshoppers, in flight.
Red-headed woodpeckers breed in deciduous forests of oak or beech and depend on dead or dying trees to build their nests. The decline in Connecticut is due to habitat loss as pasture, woodlots, orchards, and beaver swamps have been lost to development and other land use changes. As a regional land trust, NCLC strives to protect and connect the varied habitats found in our state.
Have you seen a spectacular bird lately? We love to hear reports from members.