Teresa & I worked at the Eklund Native Species Garden off Oak Valley Road this Sunday. We cleared out an area for a compost pile and tiedyied up the working end of the garden. There were a lot of really pretty native wildflowers in bloom - see the Eklund Garden Blog for photos. Visit Eklund Garden in the next couple of weeks when you have a chance to enjoy some of the natural beauty that we have in Shelton.
Did I mention that there were Mayflies? There were Mayflies, a lot of Mayflies. And since this was May second that probably shouldn't come as a surprise. However it was the lovely combination of Mayflies, unseasonably warm 80 degree temperatures, sun, and humidity (why is it humid this early?) that made for a grinder of an afternoon digging post holes in rock skree for the compost bin. There is small pond just below Eklund that is a really busy vernal pool with lots of Spring Peepers, Grey Tree Frogs, Wood Frogs, various salamanders, etc., and they all eat bugs including mosquitoes, and, you guessed it; Mayflies. The pond was literally boiling with activity which was interesting, but the downside was the bugs. We just kept spitting the Mayflies out, drinking more water, and we finished the compost enclosure.
There are a lot of improvements that could be made at Eklund including resetting a stone bench, raking leaves, clearing, chipping brush, building waterbars on the current Dominick ( and soon-to-be-Paugussett) Trail, picking up debris, placing woodchips, etc. We'll have to talk to some of the scouts about this trail work opportunity. I think that they'd get a lot of satisfaction in contributing to this community project.
Nick Sligo and his fellow scouts started working yesterday on a more gradual mountain bike trail down the Eklund Cliff just south of the Eklund Garden.
They are doing a little of the building "the path to Grandma's house" with all the downhill rocks and timbers, but this is coming along fine for the first day. They will also be rebuilding the J-Pond bridge & we hope to showcase their efforts on the May 15th guided hike (see schedule for more info). This project is a first for Shelton in that we have TWO eagle scout projects going on simultaneously in the same location.
The scouts will be working Saturdays from 9 to 2 and on Sundays from 11 to 2, if anyone wants to help. Feel free to bring shovels, tools, etc., and water or whatever (I'd suggest bug spray too).
There were a number of hikers out and the fishing areas on Nells Rock Road were packed. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the open spaces along the Shelton Lakes Greenway.
On Saturday, volunteers were also fixing up the Northwest Passage north of Independence Drive; cutting brush, digging out stumps, cutting trippies flush with the ground, grading the trailbed, etc in a race to get the Passage ready for National Trails Day. It's only 1 month away and we have THREE events scheduled in Shelton - the most that we've ever had. There is still a lot to do.
The CFPA brochures should be out this week - hopefully we can have some for our Trails Committee meeting Weds. night in City Hall (Room 303 at 5:00 - the public is welcome).
If the mayflies are not enough wildlife for you then check out Diane Carlson & Bridget Kelly's excellent Wildlife Lane blog for some great photos of local wildlife that you might see (possibly tipping over your garbage cans).
And thanks to all the Shelton High School students and everyone else who helped with the Housatonic River Clean-Up on Saturday. It was a great turn out by the students, particularly considering that the SAT's, First Communion, Scout Tag Sale, and other events were going on at the same time. See the In the Field blog for photos of the work from the Sunnyside boat ramp. Now if only we can keep the crap from getting IN the river the rest of the year.