June 2011 - NFA Celebrates CT Trails Day @ Brunot

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Whispers in the Forest
Newtown Forest Association
Connecticut's Oldest Private Land Trust

The Newtown Forest Association, Inc. (NFA) will feature its Brunot Preserve on June 4, 2011 @ 10AM by dedicating a new trail network and offering a guided walk of
these new trails by the NFA’s Board of Directors.  In addition to the new trails, the NFA has a lot to share related to its Brunot Preserve including the acquisition of
additional land, the completion of an Eagle Scout Project and the addition of Geocaches.

About the Brunot Preserve – The Brunot Preserve totals approximately 75 acres of open space which is bounded by the Newtown-Bethel town line, Plumtrees Road
and Taunton Hill Road.  The initial donations by the Brunot Family in 1970 and 1976 to the NFA totaled approximately 60 acres.  Additional donations by the Justis,
Southworth, Moore and Whitton families completed, until recently, the Brunot Preserve.  The preserve includes wetlands, woodlands and three gorgeous hidden
meadows along the Bethel town line.  Over the years this property has been trespassed upon by motorized vehicles, despite having been posted prohibiting such
activities.  Recently we have seen the meadows recover from these historical activities and we hope greater use by hikers will continue to deter those motorized
vehicles.  The ecological diversity at the Brunot Preserve is also benefited by private woodlands that abut our property in Bethel.  Each habitat present at the Brunot
Preserve is invaluable to enhancing this wildlife sanctuary largely hidden from outsiders.

Newly acquired land - During 2010 the NFA was able to protect 9 more acres in Newtown in exchange for 7 acres it owned in Bethel.  The settlement settles a border
dispute that historically goes back over 50 years, prior to the NFA having received this gift.  These properties each abut the Bruno Preserve and, on a net basis,
increase the overall protected area.  The Board believed this was the best resolution without incurring substantial legal costs to further pursue.  We will monitor closely
what happens with the adjacent land in Bethel, as it is being held for sale, to ensure our Preserve is sufficiently protected.  The NFA would have loved to see this
neighboring parcel permanently protected, however, the NFA does not have the resources to buy it.

New Yellow Perimeter Trail – New Board member, Aaron Coopersmith, spearheaded an effort to add to the existing white trail (an old farm road going through the
middle of the preserve) at the Brunot Preserve with a new trail following near the preserve’s perimeter. This new trail takes you from the Taunton Hill Road trail head to
three enormous glacial erratic’s and through the woods, wetlands and meadows and really give a hiker to experience all of the different habitats this Preserve protects
for the native wildlife.

Eagle Scout Project - Tom Diluoffo from Troop 270 reached out to the NFA to help identify a project that he might complete towards fulfilling his Eagle Scout
Project.  An Eagle Scout Project is intended to demonstrate youth’s skills in developing a project plan, obtaining resources and materials, managing and supervising
the execution of the project and writing a report on the project which includes explaining the public benefits it yielded.  Tom’s project was centered on adding a new
trail loop (the Red Trail) in the northern section of the Brunot Preserve extending out to Plumtrees and connecting to the new Yellow Perimeter Trail.  The NFA really
wants to thank Tom, his family and Troop 270 for the great job they did on this project.

New Geocashes – Geocashing is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game.  Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocashes, using GPS-enabled devices
and then share their experiences online.  Based on the success the NFA has had with geocaches it has on this and other properties, the NFA asked local resident, Rob
Urfer, an avid geocasher, to add several new geocashes at the Brunot Preserve. Not only does this attract new visitors to this preserve it encourage local residents to
get out and explore.  This is an activity that has grown rapidly now that handheld GPS devices have come down in price.  The NFA views any activity that gets
families outdoors provides a great opportunity to connect our children back to nature and get them away from the television and videogames.   Rob added 8 new
geocaches as the Brunot Preserve that form a Scrabble based puzzle for visitors to solve.  Geocachers have to find all of the “hidden treasures” to solve the puzzle.  
Given the donors (the Brunot’s) connection with the game of Scrabble, a like themed puzzle-cache was thought to be real crafty.  Following our guided hike Rob will
share the coordinates of the “hidden treasures” with the geocashers who come. He will break the players into groups so each group has their own opportunity to be the
“First-to-Find” – a highly coveted designation for the avid geocacher.  

That afternoon, Rob will officially “activate” these geocaches on the website www.geocaching.com, sharing these coordinates with the world.  This is also a game that
world travelers participate it.  Anywhere in the world you can find local “hidden treasures”.  Following a player finding the cache, the player logs his visit on the www.
geocaching.com website.  Players try to find as many as possible.  The NFA gets copied on every posting of a visit made to one of the geocaches hidden on our
properties.  This helps the NFA watch over these properties without having to physically visit the site and people do often report problems.  Its also interesting to see
where some of the visitors come from.  Last week a resident of Germany found one of the geocaches at our Holcombe Preserve.

June 4th Hike – 10am.  We will meet before 10am at the parking area and trail head on Taunton Hill Road. We ask that visitors arrive early and bring proper footwear,
clothing, sun/bug spray and something to drink.  The hike will take visitors through the new Yellow Trail and Red Trail Loops which should total approximately 4 miles;
however, visitors not wanting to go full length of the trail will be able to take the White trail back to the parking area, cutting the hike in half.  We will have a rain date
of Sunday June 5th at 1PM.  Please visit our website and facebook pages for updates should the weather appear threatening.  If you can’t join us for the guided hike
the Preserve is open dawn to dusk every day and even though the trail is well marked you can download a map from our website at www.newtownforestassociation.org
and go to the Brunot property webpage.


The Newtown Forest Association (NFA) is supported entirely by donations and membership contributions, and along with our Board continues, to grow and strengthen
its mission.  We would like to appeal to you to donate or join us in support of the visionary mission of our founders “to independently preserve and protect the open
space meadows, woodlands and watersheds in Newtown”.

We are not a town or municipal entity, and receive no direct government financial support.  We are a private landowner just like you.  The NFA is Connecticut’s oldest
private land trust and a 501(c)3 charitable not-for-profit organization. Since the NFA’s formation in 1924, the NFA now manages over 1,100 acres, through ownership

and conservation easements.  The NFA holds and protects some of the most precious landscapes Newtown has to offer, providing some of the most spectacular views
of Newtown’s landscape. They also serve to preserve our precious ecosystems for the perpetual benefit of wildlife species and visitors.  Most of you live near or have
travel past and enjoyed several our properties and have a vested interest in our mission.  The property protected by the NFA can never be developed; preserving our
community’s rural character forever.

For more information on the Newtown Forest Association, visit www.NewtownForestAssociation.org; and join the Newtown Forest Association Facebook group.