Walks and Talks: Working farm is next site

Animals, fields and other aspects of farm life will be the focus of the next free walk presented by the Wilton Conservation Commission in cooperation with other community organizations. A few days later, the commission will present a talk about invasive plant species.
A guided walk of Blacks’ Farm will be led by Lars Cherichetti, a former manager at the farm, on Sunday, March 22, at 1 p.m. The farm is at the upper intersection of Hemmelskamp and Olmstead Hill roads. Participants should park on Hemmelskamp and walk across the street to a gate.
The property, which is reminiscent of an early 19th-Century farm, has a conservation easement making it accessible to the public. It is home to horses, goats and chickens, although the animals won’t be part of the tour unless they choose to check out their visitors. Because of the farm animals, no dogs will be allowed on this walk. If there is still snow on the ground, visitors may bring snowshoes, and the Conservation Commission will make its supply available.
During the approximately one-hour walk Mr. Cherichetti will discuss the history of the farm, share farming and wildlife stories, and talk about the conservation value of the property as well as the management of invasive plants.
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.

Invasive plants

Anyone who walks the nature trails in Wilton or is a driver observing the woodlands along town and state roads is familiar with many of the invasive species here, particularly Japanese barberry, euonymous, also known as burning bush, and the mile-a-minute vine.
The commission will welcome Nicole Gabelman, the Connecticut invasive plant coordinator at UConn, to the Brubeck Room at Wilton Library on Wednesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. She will talk about how to identify and control invasive plants and their impact on the local environment, and she will offer suggestions on replacing them with native plants.
“These plants can outcompete our native plants, and that results in a change of our ecology,” said Jackie Algon, a member of the Conservation Commission and chair of Wilton Garden Club’s conservation committee, which is also a co-sponsor of both the walk and talk. “We’re trying to focus on the fact it does matter, people can make a difference on their own property. What we do there affects the whole community and watershed throughout the area.
“It’s important for people to realize they have some responsibility and stewardship and that makes a difference,” she added.
For information on the talk, visit wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-3950. In addition to the Conservation Commission and garden club, the Norwalk River Watershed Association and Wilton Library are sponsoring the walks and talks. There will be representatives from most of these organizations at each event and people may ask questions.
Future walks include:

  • 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, May 17, noon — Bradley Park, to be led by Commissioner Susan Diloreto and garden club member Leslie Frear.

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