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CVHF Restores Sanctuary’s Meadows, Tree Removal Underway

Published: April 19, 2019 at 07:30 am

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As the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation (CVHF) continues with phase one of construction at its animal sanctuary property on Old Farm Road, it has also begun removing trees to support its meadow restoration initiative.

The CVHF released a statement to The Newtown Bee announcing, “On April 15, tree work at the sanctuary property began after consulting with meadow restoration experts, land management consultants, and nature groups such as the Audubon Society. Now more than ever, open space preservation and natural habitat creation is in critical need.”

Jenny Hubbard, CVHF president and mother of Catherine Violet Hubbard, whom the foundation honors, said that the group’s goal is to restore the land back to its original state by pushing back the tree line and extending the meadows.

“When we looked at aerial photography, we could see how the meadows were encroached upon by the forested area,” Ms Hubbard said while at the sanctuary property on April 16. “We worked with UConn, and they created an invasive land management plan for us.”

The CVHF has been working on that plan over the last five years and has already achieved removing more than an acre of invasive plants from the site, mainly from the underbrush of the forested area.

“According to the USDA, many grasslands, meadows, and open spaces are being overrun by invasive multiflora rose and autumn olive, displacing native species and destroying crucial habitats in which birds, native plants, and wildlife rely on,” the foundation noted.

To continue to support the owls and animals that live on the property, the CVHF will provide “highways” along Deep Brook.

“Basically, what they do is provide passage from one wooded area to the next,” Ms Hubbard said.

The highways will also give shade to the waterway and be a part of the habitat available for animals.

“In order to minimize impact on wildlife during this time, the sanctuary’s state licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Lisa Dickal, is on call to assist with any wildlife emergencies. In addition, state-licensed wildlife rehabilitator and sanctuary volunteer Liz Luzietti is on call locally, the foundation’s announcement detailed.

Workers from Rancourt & Son Land Clearing Corp — the company conducting the tree removal and donating a portion of its services to the nonprofit — have been given resources and instruction on how to minimize any disruptions to nests and wildlife.

Ms Hubbard says that the area of trees being cut is just shy of four acres and that the trees are white pines, many of which have been choked by the invasive plants.

“The restoration of the meadow is really a priority for us because of the species and the habitats that it restores,” Ms Hubbard said.

Doing so will also be beneficial toward accomplishing the design plans that were presented and approved by Newtown’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

The CVHF property will remain open to the public during this tree removal process, but it requests that people stay away from the designated work sites and keep their pets on leash.

Ms Hubbard says if there is a day where a significant amount of work is taking place, they will close the site and put notices on the trail, as well as post the information on the group’s Facebook page, facebook.com/catherineviolethubbardanimalsanctuary.

Tree cutting is anticipated to be completed by the end of April.

After the designated trees are removed, the CVHF will seed the area with a local, non-invasive grass and seed for pollinators the following year, per the advice of experts.

“Restoring the meadow and shrub habitat by planting native vegetation will help birds, insects, and other wildlife thrive,” Ken Elkins, education programs manager at Audubon Center Bent of the River, said.

As for the wood being cut, it will all be repurposed and incorporated throughout the property.

“We’re going to take and chip any of the wood that can’t really be reclaimed… to use that chip in the community gardens for footing and in-between the beds,” Ms Hubbard explained. “Then the trees that we can salvage, we are going to plank them and use them within the property.”

Ms Hubbard added, “They will all be incorporated in some way, shape, or form.”

To learn more about the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation, visit cvhfoundation.org. Those with questions or concerns about an injured or orphaned wild animal can contact state licensed wildlife rehabilitator Lisa Dickal at savectwildlife@gmail.com.

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