Naromi Land Trust  
Forever. Sherman.                
                                                                                                April  2019
                                                                                         Vol. 10, Issue 4     
Jefferson Salamander at Towner Hill- Photo by John Foley (click on the image for more info)
In This Issue
Owls
Vernal Pool Events
Amphibian Migration
Naromi Properties
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Members, Friends and Neighbors,
There is still a chill in the air, but feeling the warm sun, watching robins spread out strategically across the grass, and seeing the first hints of growth from spring favorites like pussy willows and skunk cabbage are such welcome spring delights.  Vernal pools are waking up and amphibians are on the move. Vernal pool events start this weekend.  Information on that and about the migration in general included below.  (Send me an email if you would like to help gather information about the annual migration!)

This past weekend several Naromi Board members and I participated in the annual CLCC conference at Wesleyan University in Middletown.  It was a fantastic gathering of hundreds of conservationists.  It was a day of learning, sharing, and getting inspired.  The day before, I got to join my Executive Director colleagues from across CT for the third annual ED summit.  I am grateful for the camaraderie and support from such a great group!

Thank you!

Amanda Branson
Executive Director
Barred Owl Phenomenon of 2019
Have you seen more owls than usual this winter? Let us know what you have seen.  I have seen owls at the Herrick Preserve several times.  Nancy Astor-White sent in this great shot of this beautiful barred owl, dubbed Socrates, perched on her feeder when there was still snow on the ground.  (Thanks for sharing Nancy!) There are several theories going around in the birding world about why this phenomenon is taking place this year.  Read here for info compiled by our friends at Connecticut Audubon and here for info on how to behave while enjoying a visit with an owl.  Or maybe we Muggles are just finally noticing something that happens all the time.
Vernal Pool Series in Partnership with Great Hollow
Mark your calendars for the following events.  Great for the entire family!  All programs led by Great Hollow naturalist John Foley.

Vernal Pool Series Part I (Presentation) THIS WEEKEND!
Saturday, March 30 from 4:00 - 5:30 pm - 
Learn about the characteristics of vernal pools, how to identify them, and the natural history of the unique species that depend on them. We'll also discuss the conservation challenges facing these special habitats and how to adequately protect them from development and other threats. Free for members; a suggested donation of $5 per person for non-members is greatly appreciated.  Presentation at Great Hollow Nature Center.

Vernal Pool Series Part 2 (Hike)
Spotted Salamander Saturday, April 13 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm
A fun hike to two vernal pools to learn about what's known as "The Big Night". With our flashlights in hand, we will search for salamanders, wood frogs, and egg masses. The date is tentative because weather conditions need to be just right (light rain with temperatures in the mid to high 40s), but with any luck, you'll get to witness the yearly mass migration of spotted salamanders and wood frogs. We will meet at the White Silo Winery in Sherman(32 Route 37) and then carpool just up the street to the Naromi Land Trust's Towner Hill Preserve. The hike is somewhat steep in some sections. Please bring a flashlight or headlamp, rain gear, and sturdy boots. Kid friendly and recommended! No dogs, please. Reserve a space and sign up to receive updates about the date and time by emailing John at jfoley@greathollow.org. Free for members and non-members.

Vernal Pool Series Part 3 (Hike)
Saturday, April 20 from 10:30 - 12:00 am
Join Great Hollow Nature Preserve and the Naromi Land Trust for a guided hike to witness the spring migration and breeding of wood frogs. Every spring, wood frogs emerge from hibernation underground and migrate as much as half a mile to their unique and ephemeral breeding habitats, known as vernal pools. We'll hike up to the vernal pools at the top of the Towner Hill Preserve in Sherman to see wood frogs in action and listen to their chorus of mating calls. The hike is moderately difficult and includes a fairly short, but steep uphill walk. Kid friendly and recommended!  We will meet at the White Silo Winery parking lot (32 Route 37 East, Sherman, CT) and carpool just up the street to the Towner Hill Preserve's trail head.  Please register in advance by emailing John at  jfoley@greathollow.org. Space is very limited, and please, no dogs. Free for members and non-members.   
Beware on the Roads this Spring!
The following article was written for the Town Tribune by Rolf Martin for the Sherman Conservation Commission.  

Magical creatures now springing forth ...
 
It's spring and love is in the air not only  for us but  for many of our wild Connecticut co-inhabitants.
 
A variety of magical creatures are now emerging from winter hideouts and crossing roadways to reach their favorite breeding areas and habitats to lay eggs, find food or raise offspring.
 
These creatures are magical because they contain millions of years of wisdom which we humans have lost.  Some can regrow their limbs and tails, others live far longer than we can even without hospitals and medicines, and some find their happy hunting-and-breeding grounds using Earth's magnetic field, using modes of perception far beyond our understanding.
 
At least some sugar-filled frogs, salamanders and turtles survive after freezing, using high internal sugar as anti-freeze until spring comes and their hearts begin beating once again.  One such example in Connecticut is the wood frog, a species that seeks vernal pools during early spring to reproduce.
 
Unfortunately none of these amazing creatures can survive collisions with automobiles, since cars are far too heavy  for even the strongest turtle shells.  
 
To help our co-inhabitants, watch carefully and slow down when you drive near frequent crossing points, by wetlands, streams, ponds and nearby meadows. If you see any creature on a state road that is distressed, has been killed and may be an endangered or threatened (listed) species, please report it using the Natural Diversity Database Special Animal Survey form here.  
 
If you are in Sherman or locate a significant spring migration, email us at  ShermanConservationCommission@gmail.com.  Send photos if you can so species identity can be confirmed by a wildlife biologist.  If you see an injured animal or wish to contribute to animal care, call Debbie Corcione at the Wildlife-Line: (860) 355-5797.  In the future, wildlife crossing signs can be posted to reduce road mortality that few of us want.
 
For more information about these special creatures, come to the Great Hollow Nature Preserve this Saturday, March 30th at 4:00 pm to hear their Naturalist John Foley give a presentation about vernal pools, how to identify them and the natural history of unique species that depend on them.  For more information about this and many other events visit  www.greathollow.org.  Published reports documenting the surprising abilities of our wild neighbors will be emailed to each person who contacts the Sherman Conservation Commission at the above email address.
 
Very best Spring wishes,
 
Rolf Martin