Walks and Talks: Getting to know Cherry Lane Park

Wiltonians are invited to get acquainted with their own backyard through a series of free Walks and Talks presented by the Wilton Conservation Commission in consort with several other organizations.

The walks have been sporadically ongoing, but a calendar is set through May. Two talks are also planned between now and then.

The next walk is Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. in Cherry Lane Park. Conservation Commission Chair Dan Berg will lead a snowshoe hike through one of Wilton’s smaller parks. Adults, children and dogs on leashes are welcome.

Those participating will experience the winter landscape and learn some of the geography and history of the area. Cherry Lane Park supports a diverse woodland, including red maple, beech, black and yellow birch, tulip poplar, basswood, shagbark hickory, pignut hickory and red, black and white oaks. The park also encompasses a red maple swamp and a pond that almost always has ducks on it.

The trails are relatively flat, although information on the town website indicates they are not suitable for cross-country skiing. The Conservation Commission has several pairs of  adult snowshoes it will rent on a first-come, first-served basis. Hikers wearing boots are also welcome, although the snow may be fairly deep.

The walk will last about an hour, depending on the stamina of those taking part, and snacks and hot beverages will be served at the end. Participants should park in the lot on Cherry Lane, about one-third of a mile from Route 106.

Although not required, pre-registration by email or phone is advisable should there be a change in schedule. To register, call 203-210-5240 or email rennipsj@gmail.com.

Upcoming walks will be:

  • Sunday, March 22, 1 p.m. — Blacks’ Farm, at the intersection of Hemmelskamp and Olmstead Hill roads. To be led by Lars Cherichetti, former farm manager.
  • Sunday, April 19, 1 p.m. — Merwin Meadows with a focus on the lake being stocked with trout. To be led by Dean Keister, vice president of Trout Unlimited.
  • Sunday, Maya 17, noon — Bradley Park, to be led by Commissioner Susan Diloreto and garden club member Leslie Frear.

Talks

Two talks are also planned. The first, on Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m., in the Brubeck Room at Wilton Library, will feature Nicole Gabelman of the University of Connecticut, who will discuss the impact of invasive plants on the environment and offer suggestions on native replacement plants.

Dr. Michael Dietz, also of UConn, will discuss low-impact development and its importance to protecting water resources on Tuesday, May 19, 7 p.m., also at the library.

“The Conservation Commission is trying to engage the public in recognizing the natural resources we have here and becoming stewards of our property — both public and private,” said Jackie Algon, a conservation commissioner, who is also chair of the Wilton Garden Club’s Conservation Committee and a board member of the Norwalk River Watershed Association. Both organizations, along with Wilton Library and Wilton Go Green, are co-sponsors of the Walks and Talks program.

“We hope to raise awareness on how to care for our property in ways that are environmentally responsible,” she said. “The walks help enjoy what we’ve already got.”