Monday, May 2, 2016

Combating invasive species and celebrating with mocktails: The Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment saga continues

By Jessica Sullivan

Katherine and Clare’s Work Day

On Saturday, April 23rd, GNCE’s Katherine Carey and Clare Loughlin hosted a work day for Avalonia at the Pequotsepos Brook Preserve. The event was open to anyone who wanted to be involved, and they advertised for it through various methods, on and off campus, including advertisements at farmer’s markets, on Connecticut College’s weekly news posters On the Can, and via word of mouth to friends and student organizations. 
The lane into the preserve is now wide and inviting.

On the day of the event, a dozen or so dedicated volunteers went out to the Pequotsepos Center Road entrance to the preserve for a day of brush-clearing and other work. The area has some interesting history with several very old foundations hidden beneath the vines and plant debris over decades.

The group got a lot of work done in several hours of hard work. One thing they did was attempt to clear out some of the invasive species in the area including Japanese Knotweed which is prevalent in this area. They dug out the roots of the Knotweed and hauled a lot of it away. A fun fact about this not-so-fun invasive is that parts of it are edible early in the spring. One of the volunteers took it home to try for cooking. They also cleared out a lot of brush around a stone wall and a foundation of an old house and made a brush pile out of that which animals could use as habitat.

An enthusiastic crew attacked invasive vines, cleared walls and dug out massive roots.

Overall the work day turned out great and a lot of work got done. Katherine spoke about the success of the event, stating "The work day went really well! We were pleased to get so many eager volunteers who were able to uncover a part of the foundation that was previously completely covered by vines and shrubbery." It is always great to see students getting involved and helping out at Avalonia sites because that really gets them invested in the land.

A note from Beth Sullivan: These foundations date back to early settlements in the Mystic area. Now they are uncovered, a local historian will visit and be better able to explore the site. There are huge foundation stones and evidence of the historic road way that connected this area over toward the river.

Maddy and Juliette’s Avalonia Mocktail Mixer

In a somewhat atypical and incredibly fun way, GNCE’s Maddy Fenderson and Juliette Lee raised awareness about Avalonia by hosting the Avalonia Mocktail Mixer on Tuesday, April 26th. This fun event took place at Connecticut College and was hosted by Maddy and Juliette, but was also sponsored by the Conn College Student Activities Council, or as we call it: SAC. Decked out in “business casual” attire, the students of Conn and some of the lovely ladies from Avalonia, including Beth , Binti, and Heather, enjoyed an evening of alcohol-free versions of their favorite cocktails, great music, and mingling. Also, the night culminated with a raffle with a lot of great stuff in a very chic basket filled with things like books, food, art cards, and 2 Avalonia T-shits and a complimentary Avalonia membership. The money raised from the raffle went directly to Avalonia. 
Thank you to the hosts of the mocktail mixer, Juliette and Maddy, for hosting such a great event.

The mocktails were Virgin Margaritas, Moscow Mules, and Martinellis.

In addition to the drinks and fun conversation, Beth and Heather both gave short speeches about the work that they do with Avalonia. An important part of what they both said revolved around the appreciation that Avalonia has for its volunteers. It was great to see so many students show up to this event because they came out of it knowing a little more about the organization and what it stands for. Now there are more people who know about Avalonia who will hopefully now go out and use the trails and see the beautiful Avalonia preserves. Gaining newfound knowledge in that fun atmosphere made for a great opportunity to get more of the younger generation interested in Avalonia and land trust goals and efforts. I know that I had a great time.
The raffle prize included this green basket and a ton of great goodies inside.

The turnout at this social event was great.  Everyone had fun learning about Avalonia.

Photographs by Jessica Sullivan.

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