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2018 Washington Earth Day 5K and Roadside Cleanup
Steep Rock Preserve
April 21, 2018
Same Day Registration: 7:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Race Start Time: 9:00 a.m.
Sponsored by: Washington Environmental Council & Steep Rock Association

Please join the Washington Environmental Council and the Steep Rock Association in celebrating Earth Day a great 5k and shoe drive! This beautiful 5k begins at 9 am and meanders along the Shepaug River through the Steep Rock preserve on a dirt road with beautiful scenery. This mostly flat run is a great course for beginners and veterans alike. Join us at the end of the event for snacks, conversation and prizes. In honor of Earth Day we ask all runners to bring their own water bottles. The event will also offer a sneaker drive. Please bring your gently used sneakers tied together by the laces. All shoes will be donated through Woodbridge Running Company in Brookfield to the Rerun program. Rerun sends all donated sneakers to Africa to live a second life. To find out more go to

The First Foresters:  A Family Weekend Workshop
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Storywalk®: 1:00 PM @ Macricostas Preserve

Book signing: 2:30 PM @ Hickory Stick Bookshop 

Who are the “Old Timers” known for launching America’s conservation movement and where would we be without them?  Join Steep Rock Association and Hickory Stick Bookshop as we find out with a Family Weekend Workshop followed by an author book signing.

Cart the kids out to Macricostas Preserve for their own Arbor Day-related reading of “The Tree Farmer” by Chuck Leavell.  We’ll excitedly work through pages posted along the ½ mile-long StoryWalk® trail, and as a group, witness the beauty that surrounds us thanks to Gifford Pinchot’s influential revolution and conservation found on our local scale.  Author Bibi Gaston will introduce her new book, “Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters” and share the guiding principles of forestry Pinchot strongly promoted.

After the outdoor StoryWalk®, head to Hickory Stick Bookshop for a 2:30pm book signing by Bibi Gaston.  Ms. Gaston unearthed 5,000 pages of letters detailing the trials and tribulations of 226 men and women responsible for the creation of the U.S. Forest Service.  Listen to her recount the lives of those trained professionals and everything they embodied.  Furthermore, enjoy perusing around a local bookshop on Independent Bookstore Day.

Registration is helpful, but not required and donations are gratefully accepted.  Please register below or call the office at (860) 868-9131 Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.

PROGRAM LEADERS:  Steep Rock Association’s Outreach Committee will be leading the outdoor walk portion of the program. Author Bibi Gaston is also a landscape architect, providing landscape architecture, site planning, and design services for public and private clients throughout the United States since 1986. In addition to “Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters”, she also wrote “The Loveliest Woman in America”.

The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.  Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.

ASAP! Fort Building
@Macricostas Preserve

Tuesdays, May 8, 15, 22, & 29, 2018
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Photo by ASAP!

Build secret forts at the Macricostas Preserve with teaching artist, James Pettengill and Steep Rock Association’s program leader, Rory Larson. Participants will work together to determine the perfect locations to create and design fantasy structures. Collect sticks, rocks, branches and so much more on a wild scavenger hunt. Your treasures will be used to build lasting forts in the magical woods of Steep Rock. Only true explorers will be able to find their secret places.

4 sessions: $60 • $48 Region 12 students

Please register on the ASAP Website. 

Marsh Bird Survey: A Citizen Science Opportunity
Training @ SRA Office (2 Green Hill Road, Washington, CT)
Friday, May 11, 2018
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Field season from mid-May through mid-June

“Ker-wee”, “tick-it”, “kick-er”!  We need your help with identifying whinnies and grunts of secretive marsh birds.  A training session for new and veteran Citizen Scientists will be held in our office prior to the field season from mid-May through mid-June.

Citizen science is a method where non-science professionals contribute to scientific studies.  It has proved to be an effective way of performing projects, some that may not be achievable otherwise, while engaging and educating the community.

Marsh birds (bitterns, rails, grebes, and moorhens) are threatened by habitat loss, contamination, and invasion by non-native plants.  They are notoriously difficult to detect, cryptically inhabiting low dense vegetation, which in turn makes assessing conservation initiatives challenging.  However, specific surveys have been developed that focus on auditory cues.  At dawn or dusk during breeding season, surveys combine passive listening and broadcasted calls to elicit a response, greatly enhancing the chances to detect a focal species.

People of all ages and experience levels are invited to participate in the project.  Citizen scientists can expect to learn how to follow scientific protocols, use special equipment, identify marsh birds by sight and sound, and accurately report data.  Wetlands fulfill habitat needs for a variety of wildlife and are especially active in low light conditions so volunteers can also look forward to unique sightings beyond our targeted birds.  We would like to sincerely thank the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation for supporting this project through the purchase of required equipment.

CT Trails Day
Sunday, June 3, 2018
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
@Steep Rock Preserve, Hidden Valley Preserve, & Macricostas Preserve

Photo by Lindsay Keener-Eck

Can you bag all three Steep Rock Association (SRA) preserve summits in one day?  Join us in tackling SRA’s Three Peaks Challenge on CT Trails Day, June 3, 2018.

An epic day of hiking will begin with a trip to Waramaug’s Rock at Macricostas Preserve, the first of three guided hikes on Trails Day, from 9:30am – 12:00pm.  We will meet at the main Macricostas Preserve parking lot (124 Christian Street, New Preston, CT) before proceeding over boardwalk, around hayfield, and into forest marveling at Meeker Swamp and the talus slopes above as we go.  Participants should wear appropriate clothing/footwear for a challenging hike over uneven terrain.  Bring your water and snacks to enjoy while overlooking Lake Waramaug at the summit.

We will then continue to Hidden Valley Preserve to conquer its Pinnacle from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, and then Steep Rock Preserve to hike its Summit from 3:00 – 5:00 pm, completing the Three Peaks Challenge.  For recognition of this accomplishment and to receive an SRA t-shirt, complete and submit the associated form and fee.  More information on the Three Peaks Challenge can be found here.  Participants physically able to complete uphill hikes at a good clip are welcome on all or any of the three hikes.

Registration is helpful, but not required and donations are gratefully accepted.


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