Preservation of a Pine Brook Parcel

MxLT needs your help
The Land Trust is working to raise funds to preserve an important parcel that will expand and connect existing open space and protect a clean water source of the Salmon River.
Please help by making a donation today!
For more information check our Pine Brook page

Stewardship Looking for Volunteers

MxLT needs you!
Please come lend a hand at one of our signature preserves
2016 MxLT Work Party are still going strong!
For more information check our Stewardship Page

Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni Featured Speaker at the 2016 Annual Meeting and Dedication of the Brainerd Quarry Preserve Saturday, April 30

The Middlesex Land Trust is pleased to invite you to our 2016 Annual Meeting and Dedication celebrating our new Brainerd Quarry Preserve. This event will be held at the Haddam Neck Fair Grounds, on Quarry Hill Rd. on Saturday, April 30th.  A short business meeting will begin at 9:30am, with a dedication ceremony and presentation by Dr. Bellantoni beginning at 10:00am. Refreshments and conversation will follow, with a hike on the preserve for those who would like to get out on the land. For more information and directions go here: 2016 Annual Meeting

Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni will give a presentation about the Brainerd Quarry and other archeological sites on Middlesex Land Trust preserves in the Haddam Neck area and around our region and the Connecticut River. Dr. Bellantoni serves as Emeritus State Archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center and as Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut.

In 2015 the Middlesex Land Trust, in partnership with the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, preserved this fifty acre parcel of open space overlooking the Connecticut River in Haddam Neck and we will be celebrating/dedicating this as our newest preserve.

A new trail system has been created for the public to enjoy hiking and passive recreation. Paths that run along both the ridge and the base of dramatic cliffs, created from the property’s historic use as a quarry, offer breathtaking views of the Connecticut River and Haddam Meadows State Park.

The land has been named the Brainerd Quarry Preserve to reflect the historic importance of the Brainerd Family in Haddam. Daniel Brainerd was one of the 28 founding settlers of Haddam in 1662, and a century later, in 1762, Deacon Esra Brainerd opened a quarry on this now preserved site. The quarry operated for more than 150 years, shipping stone down river to New York and as far south as Maryland, Virginia and New Orleans.

This significant property above the Connecticut River lies along Injun Hollow Road just north of the 585 acre Connecticut Yankee property, and is accessible from two trailheads located along the road. This preserve helps protect the lower Connecticut River valley, one of the “most important ecological landscapes in the United States” according to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The preservation of this property ensures that these lands will forever remain as open space for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.


Land Trust Partner’s with Everyone Outside to Get More Kids Outside

To get more kids into the woods, The Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside have teamed up in a new education collaboration to bring more outdoor programing to our schools and communities. This joint effort is intended to get more people, especially children, outside and into nature, and to bring more families to know the Land Trust and our Preserves. With Everyone Outside’s teaching knowledge and experience and the Land Trust’s land and support, we will be working together to provide more opportunities for outdoor education with a focus primarily on the children in our communities.

If we were lucky as kids we spent many hours a week outside building forts, playing imaginary games, exploring, wandering, climbing trees, etc. However, many of us today spend more time working and in front of a monitor than we spend outside. And very few of our children are fortunate enough to have any unstructured time outside. The statistics are staggering. A recent Yale University study reports that that kids today typically spend 44 hours a week in front of a monitor and less than 40 minutes outside. At most schools, science education is inside and is primarily focused on global rather than local ecosystems. Kids today often know more about the creatures of the rainforest than their own back yard.

Many of us are passionate about the natural world and work hard to get time outside for ourselves. And we bring our children, friends and others we know out into the woods with us. But kids in general seem to have lost interest in their local environment. They’ve never experienced the freedom found in the forest, or the wonder of catching pollywogs in a pond. And they are missing out! There are of course risks to letting kids spend time outside in the woods. However, given the recent studies and the rise in childhood obesity, asthma, inattention, etc., we need to carefully think about what risks we are taking if we don’t let kids spend time outside.

In 2008, Lucy Meigs created Everyone Outside ( to provide opportunities for more people to spend time outside developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of the natural world. This year, Lisa Leisener joined Everyone Outside as their Enrichment Program Director and Financial Officer. With Lisa’s assistance Everyone Outside has recently become a non-profit organization that, like the Land Trust, is based in northern Middlesex County.

The Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside are well suited as partners to work together and create more environmental education and nature programing.  Our respective strengths in teaching and conservation complement each other and will help us to bring many more of our children to experience the outdoors. Partnering with the Land Trust, Everyone Outside will be working to offer guided hikes, enrichment programs both during and after school, and training for teachers and volunteers (who assist with programs). We hope you will come join us for some time outside!


The Middlesex Land Trust & CT River Gateway Commission Announce New Open Space Acquisition

In February of this year the Middlesex Land Trust, in partnership with the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, purchased approximately fifty acres of open space for permanent protection in Haddam Neck. This new preserve offers breathtaking views across the river to Haddam Meadows State Park from a rough path that runs along the base of dramatic cliffs created from the properties historic use as a quarry.

The land has been named the Brainerd Quarry Preserve to reflect the historic importance of the Brainerd Family in Haddam.

Please see our BQP page for more information!

Middlesex Land Trust’s 2015 Annual Meeting to Feature David K. Leff

Please join the Middlesex Land Trust on Saturday, April 25th at our 2015 Annual Meeting to be held at the deKoven House Community Center in Middletown.

Poet and essayist David K. Leff will be the featured speaker and will discuss exploring the marvels of the Connecticut landscape that are hidden in plain sight. He’ll be talking about ancient milestones, Quonset huts, roadside springs, ghost towns, big trees, abandoned cemeteries and much more

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the federal wilderness act, David will also speak about Connecticut ’s most remote place, finding wildness in our thickly settled state, and Connecticut ’s unique marriage of nature and culture.

David is the author of three nonfiction books, three volumes of poetry and a novel. David is the town historian of Canton , served twenty-six years as a volunteer firefighter, and was deputy commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for over a decade. After his talk, David will be available to answer questions and offer signed copies of his books, including Hidden in Plain Sight.

The annual meeting will begin with a short business meeting at 9:30am, with the presentation to start at 10:00am. Refreshments and conversation will follow. The deKoven House is located at 27 Washington Street in Middletown.

We look forward to seeing you there!

GIS Service Learning Class Shares Field Research, Projects with Community

As part of the GIS Service Learning Laboratory course, Katy Hardt '15 researched the wetlands, waterways and critical habitats of the northwest section of Middletown. Hardt and fellow group members John Murchison '16 and Catherine Reilly '15 presented their findings to the Middlesex Land Trust.

As part of the GIS Service Learning Laboratory course, Katy Hardt ’15 researched the wetlands, waterways and critical habitats of the northwest section of Middletown.
Hardt and fellow group members John Murchison ’16 and Catherine Reilly ’15 presented their findings to the Middlesex Land Trust.

Five groups of students enrolled in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Service Learning Laboratory course E&ES 324 spent their semester helping local organizations learn more about land parcels in the City of Middletown.

On Dec. 1, the students presented their research to fellow students, faculty, staff, community members and community partners.

Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught the class.
Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught the class, which included included lessons on geographic information systems (GIS) concepts and spatial data analysis and visualization.

“GIS are powerful tools for organizing, analyzing and displaying spatial data,” Diver explained. “GIS has applications in a wide variety of fields including the natural sciences, public policy, business, humanities or any field that uses spatially distributed information. In this class, students worked to solve local problems in environmental sciences.”

The students worked closely with community partners from the Middlesex Land Trust, Middletown Conservation Commission, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and others to design a GIS, collect and analyze data, and draft a professional-quality report to the community.


Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of
earth and environmental sciences, taught the class.

Erin McGrath ’16, Angus McLean ’16, Abrial Meyer ’16 , Dara Mysliwiec ’16 analyzed 355 land parcels in the Sumner Brook Corridor in Middletown based on eight factors to rank the parcels by importance to conservation. These included land value, elevation, proximity to water, wetlands, and open space as well as natural diversity, building cover and woodland cover. The data is generated for the Middlesex Land Trust to help in their acquisition of conservation property.

“This is such valuable material, and we’ve already purchased 100 acres of land as a direct result of classwork from a previous Wesleyan GIS class,” said community partner David Brown, director of The Middletown Land Trust. “I expect this class work will be similarly used in the future.”

Angus McLean '16 speaks about protected open space near the Sumner Brook Corridor in Middletown.

Angus McLean ’16 speaks about protected open space
near the Sumner Brook Corridor in Middletown.
During the group presentations, Katy Thompson '15, Rebecca Sokol '15, Chloe Holden '15 and DeNeile Cooper '15 discussed ways they've incorporated student-manged land areas into the Wesleyan campus maps.
During the group presentations, Katy Thompson ’15, Rebecca Sokol ’15,
Chloe Holden ’15 and DeNeile Cooper ’15 discussed ways they’ve
incorporated student-mangedland areas into the
Wesleyan campus maps.

Katy Thompson ’15, Rebecca Sokol ’15, Chloe Holden ’15 and DeNeile Cooper ’15 worked with Wesleyan’s Physical Plant to create two updated versions of the Wesleyan campus map.

One map targets a Wesleyan-specific audience and includes  student-managed land areas of campus, such as the Long Lane Farm and land managed by WILDWes. The students also created an online “story map” for visitors and prospective students.

“The story map is more user-friendly than the Physical Plant map and prioritizes information interesting to a non-Wesleyan audience. Pop-ups provide blurbs, images and external links for buildings ranging from residential to administrative to dining,” Cooper explained.


Sophie Breitbart ’16, Mackie Hemphill ’15, Tessa Hill ’17 and Chloe Nash ’16 assessed the desirability of land parcels that the Middletown Conservation Commission may acquire and conserve for open space. They analyzed five properties in Middletown via factors such as proximity to city water and sewer systems, distance to most populous census tracts, and whether it’s within land designated as containing valuable protected habitats.

Jeffrey Hauser ’15, Guy Davidson ’16, and Nolan Daley ’16 worked with Steve Gephard of the Inland Fisheries Division of DEEP to map dam locations and the water impoundment areas along the Coginchaug River for the purposes of fish habitat quality and migration.

Tessa Hill '17 and Sophie Breitbart '16 analyzed five properties in Middletown including the Wesleyan Woods Preserve (pictured). 

Tessa Hill ’17 and Sophie Breitbart ’16 analyzed five
properties in Middletown including the
Wesleyan Woods Preserve (pictured).

MxLT’s 27th Annual Meeting a Success!

The Middlesex Land Trust hosted its Annual Meeting at the Signature Palmer Taylor Preserve and had a wonderful turn out in spite of the light rain and mildly cool weather. About 30 hearty members turned out to participate in a short business meeting to elect two new board members and celebrate the Land Trust’s 27th Anniversary. Steve Gephard, a nationally known fisheries biologist who works for our own Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection gave a fascinating talk about the internationally recognized Connecticut River Estuary and the important habitat it provides for many species of birds and fish that it supports.

A walk on the newly reworked trails of Palmer Taylor Preserve was held though few took advantage due to the wet terrain. The hard work by the Stewardship Committee Trail Crews, however, was clearly evident all around the event. Most people attending preferred to join in conversation and refreshments at the Historic Erinmore Barn located at the Trail Head.

A great time was had by all.

Forty Attend Forest Management Program

On Wednesday evening, about forty or so people braved the cold to come out to the deKoven House in Middletown to attend a program about woodland management and its role in open space conservation.

Sponsored by The Middlesex Land Trust, along with the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and Middletown’s Environmental Collective Impact Network (Ecoin), the program featured local experts Tom Worthley, UCONN Professor of Forestry from the Middlesex County Extension Center, and Jeremy Clark, a CT Certified Forester and newly elected member of Middletown’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Both Tom and Jeremy gave wonderful presentations and then lead a wide ranging discussion about the goals and process around management plans and managing open space.

Protecting key parcels of open space – woodlands, farms, floodplains, and shrub lands – is important to preserve our community’s rural beauty and biodiversity. And in our role as stewards of these properties, it is important that we set goals and plan to manage them for their optimum benefit to human residents and the many other plant and animal species in our ecosystem.

The meeting was very positive about what can be accomplished, and in the end generated a working group of local commissions, environmental groups and concerned citizens who will focus on the management of town owned land in Middletown.

For more information or to join the working group, contact the Middlesex Land Trust.

27th Annual Meeting April 26

The Middlesex Land Trust is pleased to invite all members and their guests to our 2014 Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held on Saturday, April 26th at the Erinmore Barn on MLT’s Palmer Taylor Preserve located at 258 Middle Haddam Road in Portland. A short business meeting will begin at 9:30 with a presentation on the Connecticut River Estuary at 10:00, to be followed by refreshments and a short walk on the preserve. Come join us as we celebrate our 27th Anniversary, and explore the upgraded trail system at our flagship Palmer Taylor Preserve.

Two New Directors Join the Board

The Middlesex Land Trust is pleased to announce the election of two new members to the Board of Directors.

In October, the board of the land trust voted to seat two new members on the Board of Directors: Kim Diver and Caleb Corless. Both Kim and Caleb come to the land trust from the Wesleyan community and both have been active supporters and volunteers of MxLT. They will serve on the board in interim capacities until the next Annual Meeting of the land trust in April when they may be elected to serve for a full term on the board.

Kim Diver is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences and an Affiliated Faculty Member of Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University. Her doctoral degree is from Syracuse University with an academic background in geography, specifically the biogeography of plants in insular systems and geographic information systems (GIS). Kim grew up on ten acres of woods surrounded by farmland that was in the Conservation Reserve Program, and she enjoys kayaking, hiking, biking, photography, some birding. Kim is an advocate of land trusts for their important role in building community around conserving the rural character and ecological services of open spaces.

Caleb Corliss is a Middletown resident and a Master’s candidate in Biology at Wesleyan University. He hopes to apply his research work on the basic biology of invasive species to help improve land management practices. Caleb hails from northern New Hampshire, where he spent the summer of 2013 working in stewardship for the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust of North Conway. Along with a background in biology and an enthusiasm for land conservation, Caleb brings a working knowledge of GIS to his volunteer work with the land trust that has been invaluable to the land trust’s mapping project.

The Middlesex Land Trust is very happy to welcome Kim and Caleb to the board.


Appreciation of Local Businesses

The land trust would like to express our thanks to the local businesses that have assisted our stewardship efforts over the past season. Thanks to THE PAINT SPOT of Cromwell who provided exterior concrete paint at cost for our work crews to cover over some recent graffiti. And thanks to the HUBERT E. BUTLER CONST. COMPANY for donating the cost of several deliveries of trail materials to our trail crews at the Palmer Taylor Preserve. And a big thank you to Len Suzio, from SUZIO YORK HILL of Meriden, for contributing several tons of gravel for use at MLT’s signature Highland Pond Preserve.

Thank you for supporting the land trust. Your freely given donations and in kind services help MLT to continue to care for and preserve the precious land resources we have in Northern Middlesex County. Without assistance from local businesses, it would be far more difficult. It’s great to know you have our back. Thank you!