June a Busy Month for Nature and TLGV Rangers

“The big surge of green is past. Now there will be several weeks of urgent growth before the Midsummer lull when that growth will be completed, and energies will go into seed maturing. Trees are more uniform green. Meadows are lush. Farmers begin to cut hay, always early, I think, but always on time. The undergrowth in the woods is full-leafed, a green carpet waist-deep.”

– Hal Borland, “Beyond Your Doorstep”

There is something about the month of June that puts a spring in my step and a smile on my face. The hopes of my vegetable garden lay in neat rows. Thankfully, the black flies are all but gone, so working in the garden is much more enjoyable. As I move between rows cultivating the early season weeds, I’ll be humming the tune from the musical “Carousel,” “June is busting out all over.” Hal Borland is right; June is the month of urgent growth before the midsummer lull.

On my desk is a delightful nature calendar by Northern Woodlands. Each day of the year there is a tidbit of information about what might be happening outside my door on that day. Here is a sampling from the month of June:

  • Deer antlers are appearing and can grow up to quarter of an inch per day.
  • Hummingbirds are appearing at feeders. Last week, a hummingbird floated over the area where I hang the feeder, as if to tell me he was back and looking for a snack.
  • White pine pollen is being released and is often visible in the air and on cars.
  • Downy and hairy woodpecker chicks have fledged, and the parents will continue to feed them near the nest site for several more weeks.
  • Our most common snake, the garter snake, is giving birth to live young.
  • The morning and evening song of the wood thrush can be heard. You may see them scratching around the leaf litter in the woods looking for snails, millipedes and centipedes.
  • Luna moths may appear at porch lights or sleeping on a door or window screen during the day. These beautiful green moths with long tails are a sight to see.
  • The picturesque lady slippers are blooming in fens and wooded swamp areas.
  • Our grassland nesting birds are busy with nests, eggs and young. It is best to avoid field mowing until later in July or early August, so the nestlings can successfully fledge.
  • The American goldfinch will be building their nests. Their delayed brooding time coincides with the ripening of their favorite food of thistle seeds and other composites.

June is also a very busy month for TLGV rangers. This month you can find us with our information booth, free materials and guides at the following events.

We’ll be at the Lakeside Kids Event from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Beach on Webster Lake. There will be fishing, boating and lots of helpful information about on-the-water fun for the summer.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate this month for Killingly Spring Fest. The event was moved from rainy May 19 to this Saturday. Lots of fun with music, food and vendors.

We always try to participate in the Paddle for a Cure event to raise much-needed money for the Oncology Department at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam. The paddle is June 10 starting at 9 a.m. at Brooklyn River Park on the Quinebaug River. For details check their Facebook page at facebook.com/paddleforacure.

We’ll be at Logee’s Greenhouse Summer Solstice event in Danielson June 16. This will be our first time there, and we look forward to the festive atmosphere with food, music, vendors and tours of the amazing greenhouses at Logee’s.

TLGV’s monthly Acorn Adventure will also be June 16. Now is your chance to experience the amazing Horizon Wings facility and see the many owls, hawks, and other birds of prey – including a bald eagle and two golden eagles. The program is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Contact Fran at (860) 774-3300 for details and to RSVP.

Summer officially starts June 21 and I’ll be leading a paddle at Mansfield Hollow from 5 to 7 p.m. Come on down and enjoy a summer solstice evening. Contact me for details and to RSVP.

If you love strawberry shortcake, you’ll want to head over to the Dudley Grange Strawberry Festival June 21. It starts at 3 p.m. We’ll be there with our information booth and hope to see you there.

I’ll be at the Coventry Farmers Market June 24. We’ll have our information booth set up among the vendors and I’ll be leading a nature walk at 10 a.m. The market goes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located on the grounds of the Nathan Hale Homestead, 2299 South St., Coventry.

If you didn’t get to the Norwich Rose Arts Festival last year, then this year you really need to check out this wonderful festival with art vendors, music and food. It is June 30 on Chelsea Green in Norwich from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’ll be there too, so come visit our information booth.

Numerous Spring Outdoor activities including walks, and more are offered this month as spring moves to summer, bringing a conclusion to the third annual Spring Outdoors program.

There are several Spring Outdoor events that may be of interest:

If you like to mountain bike, then the Quiet Corner New England Mountain Bike Association has “Mellow Mondays Mountain Bike” starting at 5:45 p.m. at Goodwin State Forest in Hampton. They are Monday, June 11, and June 18. Call (401) 450-1596 for more information. Mellow Mondays continue after Spring Outdoors is over.

There are several walks available this month, including two today. Victorian Days in Willimantic from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with eight homes featured, each with a docent to explain the historical overview of each home. Call (860) 456-1666 for more information. Also, the Ashford Conservation Commission is sponsoring a tour of Langhammer Town Forest from 1-3 p.m. Call (860) 429-2629 for information.

Connecticut Audubon Society in Pomfret is holding its very enjoyable Wednesday Noon Walks June 6, June 13 and June 20. Volunteers lead these walks with fresh air, exercise and good company. Meet at the Grassland Bird Conservation Center at 218 Day Road in Pomfret. These also continue after Spring Outdoors.

Other walks include The River, Rail, Mills & Trails walk June 9 at the Eastern CT Railroad Museum. The walk is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call (860) 617-3308 for information.

On June 10, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Trees of Woodstock Hill is being sponsored by the Palmer Arboretum, 523 Scenic Route 169. Tour the beautiful arboretum and see the variety of trees planted on Woodstock Common. For more information call (860) 974-2770.

June 16 from 10 a.m. to noon you can enjoy a hike at Camp Laurel in Lebanon on their back trails – the part of the camp that most visitors don’t see. Call (860) 501-8814.

Of course, you can enjoy The Last Green Valley year-round. No matter the month, if you’re looking for places to go and things to do in the region, you’ll want to get your hands on The Last Green Valley’s 2018 Explore Guide. It is “hot off the press” so give us call at (860) 774-3300 to order your free copy or send an email to Lyann@tlgv.org.

June is here and with all the activities and events happening this month, I would say it is certainly “busting out all over.” I hope to see you at one of the walks, hikes, paddles or events this month. Together, let us care for, enjoy and pass on the wonders of the abundant cultural and natural resources right here at home in The Last Green Valley.

Bill Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for more than 35 years. He can be reached at bill@tlgv.org.