Events

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Join Us April 23rd for Earth Day Celebrations in Norwalk and New Canaan! Visit our tables at the New Canaan Nature Center and on the Norwalk Green.  Join us in the morning for a river cleanup at 1 Moody’s Lane in Norwalk. 

April 23, 10AM-12PM.  Earth Day River Cleanup in Norwalk! We are partnering again with Norwalk River River Rowing, the city of Norwalk and Skip the Plastic Norwalk to clean up the “Plastic Basket” at the bend in the river below the rowing docks. Wear tall waterproof boots, long pants, long sleeves, work gloves.  After the cleanup, join us on the Norwalk Green to celebrate Earth Day in a more relaxing way!  Meet at 1 Moody’s Lane, Norwalk.  Rain date 4/24.  No registration required. 

Saturday April 23, 9:30-11:00 AM. Spring Ephemeral Walk at Aldrich Park, Ridgefield.  REGISTER HERE. Spring Ephemerals are some of the earliest flowers to bloom in the Northeast. These woodland wildflowers take advantage of the full sun before the trees develop leaves and shade the forest floor. They bloom and set seed in only a few weeks before going dormant till next spring. Join NYBG-trained gardener and Master Gardener intern Cathy Smith as we look for these delicate plants and learn about their life cycles. Some ephemerals and other early bloomers we may see include Trillium, Dutchman’s Breeches, Trout Lily, Spring Beauty, Bloodroot and more! 

Wednesday, April 27, 6:30PM. Ridgefield’s Great Swamp: What Creatures Live There and How We Can All Help Protect Them.  IN PERSON at the Ridgefield Library.  REGISTER HERE. Ridgefield’s Great Swamp is the start of the Norwalk River, so it plays a critical role in shaping the health of the river. Swamps provide a wide range of valuable and sometimes hidden ecosystem services including acting like giant sponges by absorbing excess water and like natural filters by trapping nutrient and sediment pollution. They are also home to diverse bird, insect, amphibian, and other wildlife species.

Please join us to meet some of those swamp creatures, visiting from the Woodcock Nature Center, and to learn how residents can get involved in improving swamp health. Sarah Breznen, of the Woodcock Nature Center and the NRWA board, will discuss the value of swamp ecosystems and the critters that inhabit them. Jayme Soyak, Land Owner Engagement and Outreach Coordinator for NRWA, will discuss how proper residential septic maintenance is key to clean water in our swamp.  This program is sponsored by NRWA, Ridgefield Library, Woodcock Nature Center and the Ridgefield Conservation Commission. 

Saturday, April 30, 10AM-12PM. Trees for Bees Volunteer Planting Day Along the NRVT!  REGISTER HERE. Join us to help remove invasive plants and plant native trees and shrubs to restore habitat for birds and pollinators along the Norwalk River Valley Trail in Wilton. The trail helps connect the Pollinator Pathway! Bring work gloves, water bottle, and a shovel and/or loppers and clippers if possible. Some tools will be available. Questions? Contact us at info@norwalkriver.org. This event is supported by a grant from One Tree Planted.

Saturday, April 30, 12-5PM (rain date May 1). Frothy Forage at Woodcock Nature Center. REGISTER HERE. Bring the whole family for a one-of-a-kind hiking and beer tasting experience! At secret locations along the Woodcock trails, our friends at the Nature Center will feature a unique craft brew from Nod Hill Brewery plus soda tasting with Hosmer Mountain Soda!

And, if that isn’t enough, delight the senses along your trek with everything from animal encounters, to live music, and food for purchase. Furry family members will enjoy some sips and goodies along the trek courtesy of Ridgefield Pet! All proceeds support the nature center. Tickets on sale March 30 at 10 am. Advance purchase at a scheduled time is required.

Birding at Allen’s Meadows: Spring Migration 2022!  8-10AM,                      Thursdays April 28 & May 5; Wednesdays May 11 & 18; Saturday May 21 REGISTER HERE. Join us for this series of free spring migration bird walks led by expert birder, environmentalist, gardener, and Wilton resident Joe Bear.  Joe will lead this leisurely 2-hour walk through the diverse habitats this birding hot spot has to offer – open field, woodlands, edges, pond, and swamp – to seek out returning summer residents, those on their way to northern nesting grounds, and maybe a vagrant or two.

Previous spring walks have yielded a wide variety of species including Orchard Orioles, Bobolinks, Indigo Buntings, Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Eastern Kingbirds, Warblers (including Yellow, Wilson’s, Blue- winged, Northern Parula, Black and White, American Redstart, Blackpoll), and Vireos, as well as Bluebirds and Tree Swallows tending nesting boxes.  Joe Bear has been birding for over 30 years, having led both domestic and international trips for CT Audubon and other nature-based organizations.

Rain or shine. Bring your binoculars! Meet at north end of parking lot on the west side of the playing fields. Registration required. Participation is limited to 10 per date. Questions? Email: joebear.gator@gmail.com

Native Plant Trust Workshop: Restoring the Native Gardens at Oyster Shell Park. Thursday, June 9, 10:30AM -12:00PM. $23 (Members)/$27 (Nonmembers). REGISTER HERE. Join us for this exciting workshop led by Nancy M. McClelland, master gardener and master volunteer organizer who has led the restoration of the park for the last four years.  In 2006, this former landfill was transformed into a 15-acre riverside native plant garden and became a prototype for community gathering space along the East Coast. After a strong debut, the garden endured several years of deferred maintenance. The restoration of native plants in Oyster Shell Park began in 2018 and continues today with the support of community collaborations. We will walk through the garden and explore native plant highlights while discussing the master plan and planting design, plant list, efforts to remove invasive plants and encourage pollinators, and ongoing relationships that make Oyster Shell Park thrive.

July 28th, 7:00pm.  Turf to Tap: How to Manage Your Lawn to Protect Water. In person at the Wilton Library.  REGISTER HERE. Over 50 million acres of land in the continental US has some form of lawn on it. Unfortunately, lawns provide little to no habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. Lawns are often treated with fertilizers and pesticides which end up in our wetlands, rivers, and the Sound, and their root systems are too shallow to effectively filter stormwater runoff. Neighborhoods around Wilton are starting to rethink their lawns. The Norwalk River Watershed held three landowner forums throughout the early. summer, facilitating discussions around lawn to meadow conversion, dam removal and riparian buffers, No Mow May and pollinator habitats. Join the Norwalk River Watershed Association for a culmination of all three events that have taken place across Wilton highlighting the impacts of lawn management in the Comstock Brook Watershed. (Left, the site of a Wilton dam removal and future vegetated buffer planting to protect drinking water headed in Comstock Brook.)

Wednesdays & Saturdays 9:30-11:30AM. Restoring the Gardens & Riverbank at Oyster Shell Park. Volunteers Needed for safe, outdoor, socially distanced, masked habitat restoration work for birds and pollinators! Join us along the Pollinator Pathway and the Norwalk River Valley Trail in Norwalk to help restore the riverbank and the gardens at Oyster Shell Park. Learn how to identify invasive plants and also the beautiful natives that support our native pollinators. Bring gloves, clippers, and a spade or shovel if possible. Meet at the playground on North Water Street near the intersection with Anne Street, between the Aquarium and the new mall. Make sure to register so we can notify you in case of cancellations. To register email Nancy at theperennialgardener@gmail.com.

This project is made possible in part by a grant to The Nature Conservancy’s Community Resilience Building Program.
Volunteers Needed for Masked, Socially Distanced, Outdoor Project
The Ridgefield Pollinator Pathway is working on a 3-year meadow restoration project at town-owned McKeon Farm. Contact us at info@pollinator-pathway.org to join!
NRWA programs highlight the importance and features of the river and its watershed and ways people collectively and individually can improve the region. Programs are free, unless specified, but space may be limited; reservations are suggested. Call the leader listed or NRWA toll free at 877-NRWA-INFO (877-679-2463) for information, directions, and reservations. Hikers should always wear hiking shoes and bring water.