On Sunday, Oct. 24, the Wilton Land Conservation Trust with help from community volunteers planted native trees and shrubs along the hiking trail on Schenck’s Island. Planting native vegetation is part of a collective effort to sustain and nurture a living landscape for birds and animals on the preserve, as well as aquatic and amphibian life in the Norwalk River. Protecting biodiversity is vital, and WLCT’s “Stewardship Sunday” program is enhancing the environment while building a community centered around nature.
“Community and conservation are connected,” said David McCarthy, WLCT’s executive director. “Restoring native plant habitat is the critical first step to preserving biodiversity.”
The community workday was a family affair filled with sunshine, smiles, and laughter. Volunteers from 3 years through 70-plus — including one family with a newborn — carried trees, tools, and materials across the island to the worksite. McCarthy and Gavin Fusco, WLCT’s field ranger and open space steward delivered information and instructions before everyone broke into groups and got to work. Within a 90-minute workday, volunteers prepped the sites, removed invasive species, and planted the native trees and shrubs.
“It was wonderful speaking with the many curious visitors that day; one family was visiting from Sweden and was very interested in our newly established Blueberry patch,” McCarthy said. “This is just the start of many plantings to come.”
McCarthy explained the WLCT philosophy, that open spaces owned and managed by the organization are places for people to connect with nature, be inspired, and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. To encourage native environmental stewardship in the Wilton community, the WLCT installed signage alongside the freshly added native plants. The goal is to showcase native trees that anyone with a shovel can plant in their yard.
The WLCT encourages the community to visit its preserves, hike its trails, and connect the group online, and invites the public to walk Schenck’s Island and check out the new trees.