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Lovely Spring Lifts Spirits

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Spring—isn’t she lovely? The emergence of leaves, red buds, and fluffy white flowers in the forested hills and the pleasure of awakening to birdsong. Soon I’ll start my days with eBird. I’m amazed at the diversity of species sharing my home and office bases, both interstitial zones of food and swoop-ability in proximity to the sheltering canopy and forest floor. 

As migrating birds return it’s like a symphony where new instruments are progressively added. Ahh, here comes chestnut-sided warbler, welcome!

Have you given eBird a try? Created by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, it’s one of the world’s largest community science applications, collecting real-time data from more than 100 million observations each year. For contributors’ enjoyment and accuracy, Cornell Lab also created Merlin, a companion app that is truly a wizard at bird identification. KLT staff are always willing to help you navigate these tech tools, but  they are easy to pick up on one’s own using the many excellent materials and resources offered online.

When you do, please visit KLT’s eBird Preserve Hotspots. Consider a bioblitz à la Marvelwood School’s Earth Day celebration. The information you provide greatly helps us understand and tailor our land management to the wildlife using the landscape.

Last month I wrote about invasive plants and their unfortunate suppression of native flora, harmful not only to the native plants themselves but to all manner of wildlife dependent on them. KLT is conducting habitat restoration in several nature preserves—removing invasives in stages, cataloging what comes up in their place, and replanting with natives where needed. For Earth Day our hardy stewardship volunteers logged time at the Claire Murphy Riverwalk/lagoon buffer restoration.

 We’ve planned a follow-up the morning of Saturday, May 18. Join us, please—the more the merrier!—by getting in touch with Program Manager Melissa Cherniske. We’ll provide tools, equipment, and tasks suitable for all ages and abilities. If you can’t come this time, don’t despair, there will surely be more opportunity as the project unfolds (no quick fixes, slow and steady wins the race).

Wondering about using native plants at your own home? Kudos to you! In repayment for your kindness, you’ll have a backyard filled with plants needing less care, supporting symbiotic caterpillars, bees, butterflies and birds. We’re pleased to have connected with Heather Liljengren, principal of LocalLand Consulting, who with her associates from Lindera and The Fen is “On [the] Radar” of the editors of Litchfield Magazine this month for their efforts to boost availability of ecoregion 58 seeds and plants and bring local to new levels. 

Then follow up with us at next weekend’s Kent SpringFest! We’ll be outside Kent Wine with more native plants info, and featuring a festive and fancy Spring Mocktail made with local flowers. Whether you swing Derby Day or Star Wars, May 4 promises to be fun in our great community.

I’ll be in touch before then but mark your calendar now for Kent’s annual summer kick-off, KLT’s Picnic on Memorial Day following the parade where you’ll find community with many of the above-mentioned conservationists and more. Stay tuned as we “make like trees and leave” the indoors for later. See you outside!

Connie Manes is executive director of the Kent Land Trust.

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