Friday, December 4, 2009

Notes: Wintonbury Land Trust, Sunday, November 8, 2009, 4:00-5:30 pm, 52 Duncaster Rd
Present: Chip Caton, Gail & Vic Herson, Anne Farnum, Tamara & Oliver Hochmann, Jay Stoccatore, Himali Shah, Chuck Anano, Vikki Reski, Dale Bertoldi
1. The application for Farm Viability Grant will partner the Town of Bloomfield, WLT and the CEEC open space subcommittee. The proposed grant will identify, photograph and map farmland, develop a checklist to evaluate and prioritize them for preservation and assemble a resource guide. This work will be incorporated into the Plan of Conservation and Development. The WLT has volunteered 120 hours to assist the Town in performing the Grant. Key WLT player are Vikki Reski, Chip Caton and Anne Farnum.
2. Review of Properties
a) Speer property- E. Speer has decided to donate to WLT the remaining 3 acre parcel to the north of the preserve; transfer is scheduled for Dec. 15
b) Van Otterloo walk- revealed the parcel is best accessed from the Balbrae parking area adjacent to the pool or the MDC right of way off Mountain. A house exists west of our parcel between the parcel & MDC. More cutting of undergrowth will need to occur to maintain a clear walking path.
c) Roof repair work is a priority before the wet season- we have one contractor pricing work. WLT will cut the trees closest to the work area.
d) New Stewards update: Jay Staccatore is our Steward for the Speer Preserve, and Ann Farnum is our Steward for the Van Otterloo parcel
e) Privilege Rd. parcel- inadequate deed info at this time. Tony D. will request a proper deed, and add that all accrued taxes in 2009 must be paid by the donor.
3. Treasurers report
a) We spent nearly $2,981 this past year for property transfers, taxes, dues etc., and we received $540 of income mostly from interest. Although we currently have $ 23,800 in our account, there is growing concern that we must increase our membership to remain financially healthy.
b) Fundraising strategies were discussed. Many feel seeking Corporate sponsors is a good strategy based on the public awareness expected by Corporations to support Local Green Initiatives.
c) Also it was suggested to visit the Duncaster and Seabury retirement communities to brief these residents on the current activities taking place in the WLT.
4. and Blog are now linked on the main page of our Web Site. Tammi is working on the membership portion. Membership will soon be accepted on line.
a. Jay offered to help update the web site w/ Tamara
5. The Land Trust Alliance Challenge Grants has a deadline of January 14th. The Land Trust Alliance was impressed with our last grant that was not accepted. The Alliance has encouraged us to reapply in January. Vikki, Tami and Chip will look at this grant.
6. Tree for Faith Mac Mahon planted end of May and dedicated in the Town of Bloomfield Memorial Day Ceremony. Ceec would like a plaque. Bloomfield Journal had an article about the dedication in which the Land Trust was mentioned.
7. The Land Trust Alliance has developmental education for Land Trusts online as part of our membership.
8. The Easement Initiative will run out at the end of December. The Initiative allows 50% maximum on gross income for fifteen years instead of 30% for five years. Contact your US representative to encourage him to extend this initiative.
9. New Business:
a. The Stouts and Chip have been in contact over the destiny of their field that lies between Stone Hill and Gun Mill. The Board decided to approach John Stout to discuss the options that the WLT can offer. Chip will contact John to set this up.
b. GIS mapping of the Schafer parcel will help in locating property corners. Jay has experience with this technology.
Meeting Notes WINTONBURY LAND TRUST Sunday, May 9, 2009, 4:00-5:30 pm 52 Duncaster Road
Present: Dale Bertoldi, Chip Caton, Tamara Hockman and Vikki Reski
1. Approved Agenda and Meeting notes March 1, 2009
2. Approved the use of Land Trust 2007 Standards and Principles from the Land Trust Alliance.
3. It was agreed that WLT would submit an application for June 6th Grants Program. The project would use the approved mission statement. Vikki Reski will spearhead with Chip Caton editing.
4. Accreditation: The Land Trust will follow 2007 Standards and Principles concentrating on Stewardship Development, Web site development, membership and fundraising. Officers are encouraged to utilize the Land Trust Alliance education and development programs on their site to improve their management skills.
5. Web Page is being developed and soon to be up and running. Vikki will get a map update from the Town that contains the correct key. Blog is up and running.
6. Membership discussion
a) Modified Membership Form for web site.
b) Received two new members. Send maps with membership receipt
c) Stewards Responsibilities Document was approved with a couple modifications. Chip Caton will be the new steward contact person.
7. Review of Properties
a) Mapping with town has generated a good map, which has a key that’s needs updated. A couple of properties need to be refined.
b) Roof work at #15 Thrall Preserve Barn # 1. Vikki and Dale to contact a roof contractor.
8. Chip will contact Bloomfield Journal for an announcement about the Wintonbury Land Trust.
9. The Wintonbury Land Trust and Bloomfield CEEC jointly will start a fund for a Commemoration Tree in memory of Faith Machanon

Friday, October 30, 2009

Speer Preserve Stewardship


Vikki Reski and Anne Farnum

(obtained 3/1994, Nature Conservancy and Mr. & Mrs. Speer)
10 acres

The Speer Preserve is located to the northwest of the end of Juniper Road. A limited amount of parking is near the Preserve along Juniper Road. The property was subdivided and Mrs. Speer still retains 3.9 acres (The Speer Property) mostly north of the Speer Preserve. A Plaque dedicating the Preserve is on a rock near the Speer Drive not far in from Juniper Road.
The Speer Property follows the original Speer House Drive until that road turns west to continue to the original Speer house foundations and out buildings located in the preserve. Three iron pins are located along the east Speer Property line. The Speer Preserve property line is 25’ to the west of the first two iron pins. The last iron pin locates the northern most property line of the Speer Preserve that starts 100’ west of the pin.
Walking through the upland forest in fall two plants become most obvious; Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) with its scaly bark and Christmas Fern (Polystichum arostichoides) with smooth evergreen fronds.
As we walked up the road we noted some used lumber piled along one side of the road on the Speer property.
After the road turns we continued to walk it uphill through forest and boulders till we crossed a small ridge. The two chimneys with the house foundation were obvious as the land pitched slightly less. The barn and well house were located to north and west of the house with the water tank foundation is further upslope near the northern property line. The barn shows signs of vandalism. Neighbors reported some activity that was broken up by the police a couple weeks ago.
Walking along the northern boundary the gas line easement creates a 30’ walking path that moves to the southwest corner of the property. An obvious growth of small sassafras is evident in this right of way.From the west side of the easement the preserve crosses into Simsbury about 140 feet to the ledge that forms the west property line. Along this ledge 195 feet from the corner a mirror stone locates the corner of the Simsbury and Bloomfield town lines. The ridge is a dramatic feature that can be followed to the Southwest corner of the property where there are several features help locate the property, MDC fence lines, gas line easement, a maple with a fence through it, and a large oak. From this point follow the fence lines and the stonewall east down to the paved end of Juniper Road.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009, 2:00-4:00 pm at Thrall Preserve, 490 Old Day Hill Road,
Windsor, Ct , Barn #1
Sunny 88 deg.
Present: Dale Bertoldi, Tamara Hochman, Chip Caton, Vikki Reski, Hanna Bertoldi,
John Whiting, Ken Whiting, Parker, Diane Wassell and
Anne Farnum
1.The 12-acre Thrall Preserve was donated in 2007 by Win-Stanley
Properties. The fruit trees around the property were in full bloom, and greeted
the WLT and visitors. The path to barn #1 traversed meadowland containing
shrub clusters near the pond. At the tobacco barn a display of the property map produced jointly by WLT and the Town of Bloomfield was set up. WLT
will write a letter to Thom Hooper thanking him for allowing Thangu Narasimham,GIS specialist at the Town of Bloomfield who helped with this effort. This map will be featured on the web site soon to be available at
2. Diane Wassell, the neighbor across Old Day Hill Road provided some
background about the property, originally owned by the Thrall Tobacco Farm who received it after their participation in the Revolutionary War. In the 1960’s
the property and two barns were used in a film entitled ‘Parish’. Diane has
spotted bear, fishers, jackrabbit, possum, raccoon, fox, coyote and deer on this property. Francis Mocklis in Windsor was a foreman at Thrall for many years and could give additional background. Other neighbors on Old Day Hill are Dan Giridian, Sandy Silvers and Shelia Banks.
3. Vice President Chip Canton spotted two Brown Thrashers, #4 on the
Conservation Composite Score and a priority for the Ct Audubon Society
and Partners in Flight.
4. The stewardship program was discussed. Vikki asked Daine Wassell and
Ken Whiting if they would be neighborhood representatives for this parcel. The
Blog at is currently being used for notes and steward information.
5. Tamara spoke to several prospective members and has e-mailed their information to Vikki.
6. Diane led the group on a hike around the property. There is pear, wild rose and blackberries near the barns in the meadowland, woodlands behind the barns, and wetland within the woods. In addition to the barns and pond site features are established paths, fence lines, and flagged trees. There are no paths in the WLT woodland west of the Town of Windsor wetland property. This woodland has thick growth.

7. Chip spotted a Wood Anemone 4”-8” which blooms April to June. The early spring sun highlighted the lycopodeum
(interrupted club moss ) ground cover that we found in the wooded area around the wetlands.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thrall Parcel

Donated December 2007 by Win-Stanley Properties, this parcel represents the only land owned by Wintonbury Land Trust that is in Windsor.

This property was once part of the Thrall Tobacco Farm Holdings in Windsor. Its history is preserved forever when in the 1960’s this property was used in a film entitled ‘Parish”. In fact the two barns and pond that still remain on the WLT parcel were used in several scenes as background to the film. Most of the meadowland near pond has succession overgrown transitioning to forest. There is a staggering of fruit trees near the two barns on the property. Once past the roadway growth, one can easily walk this property unencumbered on established paths while envisioning the prosperous ‘Tobacco Valley’ farm industry.

Monday, April 13, 2009

March Meeting


Sunday, March 1, 2008, 2:00-3:00 pm
52 Duncaster Road, Bloomfield
Present: David Sullivan, Dale Bertoldi, Tamara Hochman,

Chip Caton and Vikki Reski

1. Approved Agenda and meeting notes 11/19/08.
2. 200 acres is the limit of the current property insurance.

The Land Trust currently owns 175 acres. David stated that the
State of Connecticut laws protect volunteers of nonprofit organizations
from lawsuits.
3. New Vice President Chip Canton was elected.
4. April Annual meeting date April 26 rain date May 3 at the tobacco

barn on 490 Old Day Hill Road Parcel.
5. Tamara presented a web page proposal and it was agreed that

she would proceed. David wanted to upfront the cost of set up. The
Blog at is currently active.
6. Membership discussion reviewed a new membership form

and discussed options on membership drive.
a) Vikki will look into a table at Earth Day celebration on Town

Green April 18 or 25.
b) Land Stewards after joining the land trust the first year have

membership fees waived for the period of serving. Responsibilities
at present consist of a yearly report, which would be posted on the
blog with updates there as needed. Stewards are encouraged to
visit the land once a month and act as a neighborhood representative.
The Steward Program is to act as documentation of our supervision
of properties entrusted to us.
c) Chip will look into setting up a display/table at Wades for membership.
d) Dale and Tamara will contact Linda and Claudia.
e) News release on the new officers of the land trust.
f) Active board of directors are the officers of the Land Trust, David Sullivan

and Chuck Agnano.
7. Review of Properties
a) The mapping with town has begun. Vikki will meet with Thangu to provide

some outstanding info from the WLT files. We will also discuss graphics for
the web site maps.
b) Acquisition of new properties #16 Tunxis Heights from Beaudry and

#17 513 Simsbury Road Beacon Financial
c) Roof work at #15 from Winstanley Barn # 1, Renaming parcel Thrall

Farm or Parrish Parcel.
d) Additional research on boundaries of # 11 Schaffer Properties has

confirmed the boundaries of the 45.7 acre parcel to be the entire back piece.
e) Tumblebrook parcel- is owned by Cigna. No recent activity.
8. Adjourn

Annual Meeting
Wintonbury Land Trust

Sunday, April 26th

Thrall Parcel
490 Old Day Hill Road

Barn #1

Wintonbury Land Trust
For more information call

van Otterloo Preserve

Donated December 1995 by Mr. And Mrs. Van Otterloo. The 9 acres of wooded hillside property with pond and dam, buffers Balbrae and West Hartford.

This property is directly accessible from Mountain Rd. and parallels the MDC right of way. The lower part of this parcel was which has since overgrown; the remains of the perimeter field stonewalls are still visible. As this property extends westward it gently rises to a beautiful pond feature that was once part of the van Otterloo Estate. A section of the dam has eroded lowering the water elevation; however one can still experience the towering pine stand surrounding the pond and discover the footbridge and path to the south - remnants of an earlier age. This property continues about ¼ mile due west, and ends near the MDC reservoirs.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Schaefer Property, Bloomfield

Donated December 2001, 48 acres, Parcel 1 and 2 at 91 Duncaster Road
The largest property held by the WLT, this preserve is rich with diversity. This property offers a mix of rolling terrain with hardwood forests, seasonal wetland, and small ponds in the lowland pockets. Most of the property is dense forest and thick brush, creating ideal habitat for upland game such as beaver, bobcat, wild turkey, fox, and deer. This property is also unique because it forms part of the Bloomfield Divide between the ‘Park River Basin’ flowing to the south and the’ Farmington River Basin’ that flows to the north. The lowland sections of this parcel also contribute to the ‘Great Drain’ wetlands.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Merritt Preserve,Bloomfield

Donated November 1995 by Mr. And Mrs. Robert Merritt. A 3 acre wetland preserve with outflow from seasonal waterfall on Tariffville Road.

This property features an aggressively flowing stream and bubbling waterfall year- round and can be easily viewed along Tariffville road. However, in the spring this stream becomes a raging waterfall that empties into a small pond on the property. The source of all this energy is the expansive wetland along the base of Penwood Ridge, commonly called the ‘Great Drain’. This wetland / swamp actually flows north into the Farmington river basin via many streams; the Merritt pond outflows under Tarriffville Rd. and into the Farmington river near the Tariffville Gorge. We believe this water feature is the only permanent waterfall in Bloomfield not associated with seasonal flows from the Avon/Penwood Ridge. Dale Bertoldi

Monday, February 23, 2009


Hello fellow Land Trust Bloggers!

I have never before visited a blog but I am using this opportunity to get started.

Vikki and Dale have recently acquainted me with the Wintonbury Land Trust and I hope to become an active contributor soon.

In the spirit of "The appreciation of nature", I have included this picture of a red tail hawk, perched in my backyard apple tree on Duncaster Road in Bloomfield about a week ago.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wintonbury Land Trust,Inc

The purpose of this Blog is to post Wintonbury Land Trust Steward reports and pictures of the 17 Land Holdings of the Trust.