Prized Vernal Pools: Hotbeds for Spring Wildlife

Grab your rubber boots and polarized glasses. It’s not too late to explore a vernal pool near you. Vernal pools are woodland depressions that hold water in Spring and then typically dry throughout Summer. Several amphibians are dependent on the temporarily inundated environment for breeding and offspring development. Vernal pools provide habitat for a host […]

Macricostas Preserve Grows

As one drives and rides around the periphery of Lake Waramaug or boats its waters, you can’t help but notice the lush, unfragmented forested hillside looming over the lake’s northeastern bank and Route 45. This wildland extends to the ridgetop, through Pinnacle Valley, and across Meeker Swamp where Macricostas Preserve spans 500 acres.SRA is thrilled […]

Let River Rocks Be

Many of us share a favorite “dog days” activity of swimming in the river, but it is important to recognize that the Shepaug and other watercourses are sensitive ecosystems increasingly stressed by low flow and warm water during the months of summer. Watercourses are very complex and dynamic environments that should not be altered solely […]

Summer Study and Notes from the Past

barred owl fledgeling

July is a fascinatingly wild time of year. Life histories of organisms spanning all taxonomic kingdoms converge, forming a bustling and bursting environment that beckons for natural study. Learn about biodiversity in the preserves and the interconnections that shape natural communities through our experiential “Notes from the Field” articles posted on the website. This selection […]

A Strategic Piece to the Conservation Puzzle

Steep Rock Association

With the growing and widespread threats of development, habitat loss, and climatic shifts, now more than ever, it is critical to think in a regional context and act to address our piece of the greater conservation puzzle. How do our actions fit into the big picture of conservation? What habitats are limited in the landscape […]

Look Through the Lens

The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true for Steep Rock Association. Photography is an incredible tool for performing scientific research, telling the story of our conservation impact, and highlighting the importance of open space. This year, we aim to increase photographic documentation of the preserves, and we encourage other preserve goers […]



Born and raised a fisherman, the progression of my year is closely tied to insect hatches.  Trout is the quarry of choice and so I often find myself on the banks of the Shepaug River.  Keen eyes examine anything in flight, anything swimming, anything floating on the surface, and anything eddying through inside bends of […]



July 8, 2016 The buzz of bees catches my attention while on the trail above the Tunnel in Steep Rock.  I give a quick look around the ground to confirm I haven’t disturbed a yellow jacket nest.  Yellow jackets usually are aren’t a concern until late summer, but the dry, hot conditions through June have […]


Bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) nest suspended above the Shepaug River

A few stubborn oaks still cling to brown leaves, but for the most part, trees are rid of foliage, giving forests a different look and feel.  Landscapes are more intimately studied, their layers and intersections well within view.  A low sun pierces empty crowns, illuminating hillsides and unveiling what remained hidden through livelier times.  Aerial […]



It all starts with a plan and permit when wetlands are concerned, but the latest stewardship project at Macricostas Preserve simply involved maintenance on a previously approved stretch of boardwalk through Meeker Swamp.  Several sections had deteriorated after a decade of great use and needed replacing.  The beat boards were white oak, a good choice […]