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Earth Day 2008-



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Earth Day 2008—

Get An Early Start On Earth Day

With Nettleton Preserve Clean-Up Effort

By Kendra Bobowick

Wooden doors rattle open to let sunlight inside the gardening shed where a tangle of spades and rakes rest against the wall. Damp clay containers and potting soil are tucked into a corner where they have waited since doors closed on them last fall. Pushing past the dried clumps of grass and soil on the floorboards, however, spring finds the eager hands of Newtown Forest Association (NFA) members reaching for the yard tools as Earth Day 2008 approaches.

The NFA is planning an Earth Day cleanup, and volunteers are welcome. As caretakers for a number of preserves throughout Newtown, one property in particular will receive attention in coming weeks. NFA is inviting all “concerned persons,” it said in a recent announcement, to help its invasive plant removal and trail cleanup on Saturday, April 19.

A continuation of the organization’s 2007 Earth Day project, the workday — taking place the weekend before Earth Day on April 22 — will begin after 9:30 am at its Nettleton Preserve.

With the long-term care for all of NFA properties in mind, member Bob Eckenrode recently discussed the Nettleton Preserve work as “enhancing wildlife habitat” and “removing invasive species,” among other caretaking and upkeep.

Residents can volunteer with NFA or show up at the preserve, located off Castle Hill Road, between 9:30 and 10 am. Then everyone will break into groups that will work at clearing invasive species, planting native specimens, clear overhanging limbs, and repair wet areas of the tails and preserve. Volunteers should bring their own tools, including pruning clippers, shears, rakes, and saws. Leave power tools at home. Mr Eckenrode said this year’s cleanup will build upon work started last year.

“Last year we planted food-producing species for wildlife,” he said, calling this year “round two.” Hoping for a another large turnout of volunteers he said, “We had such great luck so we’re looking forward to this year.”

 “Our projects are demonstrations of good stewardship and land management,” he said. The cleanup on April 19 and Earth Day on the calendar April 22 are not isolated days of environmental attentiveness, but a reminder to Mr Eckenrode. “Every day is Earth Day,” he said.

The NFA cleanup adds to local efforts surrounding April 22, including another important date and event: an Earth Day Fair on April 26 at Newtown Middle School.

Sponsored by Newtown’s Energy Task Force, the fair will host activities with Pootatuck Water Association, Candlewood Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited, the high school Ecology Club, conservationists, and more. Mark storm drains, hike the trails, attend information sessions, and help maintain trails on April 26 for a day filled with “something for everyone,” the task force promises.

For more information about the Nettleton Preserve Clean-Up Day and other NFA projects visit NewtownForestAssociation.org. For more Earth Day Fair information, call 270-3331.

(Watch for more articles about local Earth Day events and environmental concerns.)

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