Resolution: For the Birds
Photo: Peary Stafford
Steep Rock stewards a bevy of biological diversity on our lands, including nearly 1,000 acres of critical ecological habitats and over 30 state-listed threatened and endangered species. We recently documented 18 species during our annual Christmas Bird Count and our mid-winter Shepaug River eagle survey (see below) recorded an abundance of eagles.
So join me in resolving to make 2021 for the birds! I can’t think of a better way to start the day than sitting at our breakfast nook enchanted by the host of sparrows, party of jays, and charm of finches fidgeting, flinching, and feasting at our feeders. Try it! It’s easy, no experience necessary, and I guarantee our feathered friends will make you smile.
See you on our Trails!
Brian Hagenbuch, Ph.D., Executive Director
Bountiful Bald Eagles and Citizen Scientists
to Start the New Year
(Top) Photography by Sal DeFini – An adult bald eagle perched beside the Shepaug River in Roxbury, CT.
(Bottom) Photography by Owen Quatrano – Citizen scientists Joe Shea and Mila Limson (left) and Suzanne and Ed Martano (right) surveying upper reaches of the Shepaug River in Warren and Washington, CT.
Thanks to an unbelievable effort by 47 (yes, I said 47!) volunteers who endured the frigid morning, almost the entire Shepaug River was surveyed over the target 4-hour period. Datasheets are still rolling in, but it is safe to say a record was set with several sightings of both adult and juvenile birds. Results continue to show that the Shepaug River serves as important wintering habitat for bald eagles, a state-listed threatened species.
Trail Talk : A Time for Reflection
Photo: Mike Giapponi/Steep Rock Association
Photo: Denise Arturi
Photo: Washington Parks and Recreation
Join us for this town-wide virtual event to engage families, friends, and neighbors in civic initiatives. This year’s event will include exciting presentations and events such as:
- Donation to a Collection/Food Drive; drive up in front of Town Hall to drop off to help families in need – Non perishable food and toiletries, pet food, hats and gloves.
- Learn About Local Service Organizations; Join Jim Brinton, Michelle Gorra and representatives from local service organizations for a virtual introduction to the services they provide to our community and opportunities for volunteers to participate. Organizations include: ASAP!, Washington’s Council of Congregations, Steep Rock Association, The Gunn Memorial Library & Museum, The Judy Black Memorial Park & Gardens, Washington Ambulance Association, Washington Environmental Council, Washington Art Association
- Meet the Director; Join Director Joyce Chopra for a screening of “I have a Dream” followed by a live Q&A session
- Conversations with Youth in Our Community; The Judy Black Memorial Park & Garden in collaberation with Conversations on the Green and Shepaug Valley School will host a conversation with local students who strengthen our community through service. Presented via Zoom.
Link to the Zoom presentation, and more information can be found at www.explorewashingtonct.com.
“The History of Steep Rock Association:
The Jewel in the Crown”
Photo: Carol Santoleri
If not, this beautifully-crafted book filled with reflective pictures from the past 100+ years, including some “then and now” comparisons with photos from the archives of the Town of Washington’s Gunn Historical Museum is still available for purchase for you to enjoy.
Reflect on your own experiences as you read the engaging and entertaining stories about each of our preserves and the Shepaug River. If you and your friends love nature, history, and Steep Rock, this will be a welcome addition to your library.
The History of Steep Rock Association: The Jewel in the Crown is available at The Hickory Stick Bookshop, 2 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot, CT (cash and check) and J. Seitz & Co., 9 E Shore Rd., New Preston, CT (checks only). Need to pay with a credit card? The book can also be ordered online from the Steep Rock website (www.steeprockassoc.org).
The author (Carol Bergren Santoleri), Hickory Stick Bookshop and J. Seitz & Co. have graciously offered to forgo income from book sales. 100 % of all funds from sales will go directly to support Steep Rock Association.
Winter Hiking Safety
Photo: Rosalyn Pinney
- Wear a mask, especially if you are within 6 feet of other people (keeps your face warm)
- Practice safe social distances– say hello, step aside
- Do not engage in large group activities
- Leash and clean up after your pets
- Take pictures, leave footprints
- Report dangerous trail conditions to, steeprockassoc.org/report-trail-conditions/