Enjoy communing with nature whereas mountain climbing, fowl watching, photographing wildlife, strolling your canine (on a 6-foot leash), bicycling, snow shoeing and cross-nation snowboarding at Griswold’s Dutka Nature Preserve — named after the household that donated many of the land and bought a small portion properly under market worth.
Discover hilltops, forests, vernal swimming pools, wetlands, flat farmland and a operating spring, interspersed with stone partitions and a bridge – house to deer, possums, foxes, beavers, skunks and an occasional mountain lion, coyote and bear. Birds vary from wild turkeys and eagles to tanagers, hummingbirds and owls.
This nearly 150-acre protect features a 62.76 acre discount-sale buy on Bethel Road from the Dutka Family in February for $112,500, half of the land’s appraised $225,000 worth. It was acquired “through the generosity of grants from Avalonia donors, the Summer Hill and Edward and Mary Lord Foundations,” acknowledged Avalonia Land Conservancy, Inc. President Dennis Main in an e mail.
Speaking on behalf of herself and her siblings, donor Mary Dutka stated throughout a phone interview that their dad and mom had been immigrant farmers and lived off the land.
“My father had poultry; he sold eggs. Of course, he had cows and he did his own milking.”
Throughout the Depression and World War II, she stated her mom and father cared for his or her household of seven.
“I don’t think either of them would have wanted this property divided into anything else,” Dutka stated.
“If no one in the next generation wanted to farm or continue to keep it as it was,” Dutka stated her siblings agreed the property must be donated to a land belief.
“Open space plays an incredibly important part in wildlife, wildlife habitat, and protecting drinking water, in filtering pollutants, buffering rising sea levels and storm surges and sequestering carbon that is creating climate change,” stated Avalonia Director of Development and Programs Terri Eickel throughout a phone interview. “Open space has tremendous positive impact on public health and the environment, as well as the increased opportunity to get outside and breathe fresh air and get good exercise.
“Emotional, mental, physical and neurological benefits of participating in outdoor activities have been scientifically and medically documented for a very, very long time. And so it’s important for the state and all of its partners, like private land trusts, to do as much as we can to support that.”
Main stated throughout a phone interview that as temperatures rise on account of world warming, cities shall be significantly “hard hit” and it’s going to have an effect on folks’s well being – particularly those that are dealing with decrease wages, decrease well being requirements and fewer assets accessible to them.
“The more open and less shaded it is, the more you’re going to get that concentration of heat.”
“The first order of business (for the newly-acquired parcel) will be a more in-depth assessment of the current habitat and conservation values,” he stated. “We will also need to complete boundary signage installation and development of a management plan that will now incorporate the entire preserve. Management plans are dictated to be completed within 12 months and will be necessary in particular with this preserve which includes farmland soils that are actively being cultivated.”
He added that trails and public entry will observe the event of the administration plans, as will consideration of lively farming utilization.
“Since this latest acquisition includes waterfront access, Avalonia Griswold Town Committee Chairman Richard Conant said during a telephone interview that they’re “looking to have a nature trail that goes from west of Bethel Road all the way through all the Dutka parcels that have come to us that are now contiguous and controlled by Avalonia,” to an overlook on Pachaug Pond.
Dutka Land Preserve trails may be accessed on the nook of Dutka Lane and Bethel Road in Griswold, the place there’s parking for 4 autos.
Main stated he’s proud to be a part of land preservation.
“We need development, but there has to be a mix and a balance,” which is why Avalonia Land Conservancy, Inc. subscribes “to the state’s Green Plan (Connecticut Comprehensive Open Space Acquisition Strategy), that calls for 21 percent of the state’s lands to be conserved by 2023.”
“As development increases in Connecticut, wildlife is increasingly getting forced out of their habitats,” Eickel stated, which is why conserving land is so necessary. “That is a reason that we’re seeing species decline and that has a significant negative impact on our ecosystem as a whole.”
“Part of the reason for Avalonia’s strategic conservation plan is to create contiguous wildlife corridors, so they can exist and hunt and eat and breathe and whatnot, in spaces that allow them freedom of motion.”
Because there are floor-nesting birds, Eickel stated Avalonia asks folks to leash their canine. “Even just one negative experience” of a canine disturbing a nest, “can cause the birds to abandon their babies permanently and (then) the babies don’t make it. And when you’re talking about threatened or endangered species, of which we have some on our different preserves, that has a significant impact.”
Avalonia additionally asks folks to scrub up after their canine and take refuse house, as an alternative of leaving it on the facet of the path.
Avalonia Griswold Town Committee Member Eric Lindquist’s house borders the protect, so he merely steps exterior to take pleasure in its magnificence. “It has always been that way, but I am beyond grateful to the Dutka family for choosing to permanently preserve their land and all of its natural beauty that I have come to love and appreciate.”
He stated in an e mail that he’s obsessed with preserving land.
“I have always been interested in land use planning, which includes the strategic conservation of land to balance the need for housing or economic development. Connecticut’s remaining forest and farm land is becoming increasingly fragmented and at increasing risk of development. We are on the cusp of a generational shift: as the last living members of old farm families like the Dutkas pass on, large tracts of what used to be longtime family farms are being split up and sold to developers, usually for housing subdivisions.
“Before long, small agricultural towns become dense suburbs that lose their sense of identity and with it, the rustic New England village charm that so many of us identify with. We need more landowners like Mary Dutka, and we need more public resources dedicated to preserving open space.”
Avalonia Land Conservancy, Inc., a nonprofit group, has preserved land in many of the cities in southern New London County, together with North Stonington, Stonington, Groton, Ledyard, Griswold, Norwich, Preston and Montville, Conant stated.
“Avalonia is in some ways like a business and has all those aspects of” figuring out land for acquisition, elevating funds, stewarding land, controlling invasive species (and) sustaining nature trails. “There are a million opportunities. We certainly welcome all volunteers with open arms.”
Positions vary from “working on field projects at the town committee level to working in administration or working for development — helping us with fundraising.”
Mary Dutka stated she has fantastic recollections rising up taking part in on the land and doing chores and it’s a gratifying feeling understanding her household’s land shall be left in its pure state.
The Dukta Land Preserve is a part of the Discover Avalonia collection. To contact Avalonia Land Conservancy, Inc. or to study more about academic/recreational actions or volunteering, go to Avolonia.org.
Jan Tormay, a longtime Norwich resident, lives in Westerly.
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