Follow the Trail with Bill Reid,
The Last Green Valley's Chief Ranger

Exploring The Last Green Valley: This is ‘empty nest’ time for us and the birds

September 1, 2019

Two weeks ago, my colleague took her youngest child to college thereby joining the “empty nest” club. My youngest left the nest more than 15 years ago, but I still remember the jumbled feelings of hope and pride mixed with a tinge of sadness. For […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: General Lyon’s birthplace and burial along Natchaug Trail

August 25, 2019

It was during a Walktober event led by State Archaeologist Nicholas Bellantoni that I first learned about General Nathaniel Lyon of Eastford. Bellantoni took us along the Natchaug Trail in the Natchaug Forest to Nathaniel Lyon Memorial Park and the remains of Lyon’s birthplace home […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: Luna moth a recognizable, beautiful creature

August 18, 2019

A few weeks ago, I discovered a large, bright green caterpillar in the yard. It was the size of my thumb with small dark spots and several hairy spines on its back. The caterpillar was inching through recently mowed grass and I tried to entice […]


Understand the Invasive Japanese Knotweed before doing battle

August 11, 2019

This is the time of year when the invasive plant Japanese knotweed is blooming in large clusters of greenish-white flowers. This perennial plant blooms in August and September and is quite visible along sunny roadsides in long swaths of green from 3 to 10 feet […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: Forest ferns beautiful and fascinating plants

August 5, 2019

“Truly, out of the darkness, where forever the stems of our little northern ferns are hid, the frond reaches up an eager hand for the blessed sunlight.” From “An Almanac for Moderns,” by Donald Culross Peattie A summertime walk in the woods reveals large patches […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: DEEP is your access point to our state parks and forests

July 28, 2019

When was the last time you visited one of our many state parks and state forests? August is here, summer is moving quickly through the warm season, so now is the perfect time to plan a visit. Here in Connecticut the opportunities are boundless, especially […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: Crows bring ‘murder’ to our neighborhoods

July 21, 2019

I think we have a family of crows nesting in our neighborhood. Perhaps they have a nest in the thick woods between our house and the highway, or it might be in the trees south of our back field. We see them frequently throughout the […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: We must preserve the region’s farmland

July 14, 2019

What do 18 farms within six towns in The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor all have in common? Each has been protected from development by the Connecticut Farmland Trust. The town of Lebanon alone has 12 protected farms, more than any other town in […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: Shagbark hickory a beautiful and useful tree

July 8, 2019

We have several hickory trees in our neighborhood, but the one I appreciate the most stands by the stone wall bordering the back pasture. At least 60 feet tall in the open air, the tree benefits from little competition for sunlight. Its rounded crown is […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: Fireflies are our living fireworks

July 2, 2019

“Fireflies create a magic that transcends time and space. Their resplendent displays change ordinary landscapes into places ethereal and otherworldly.” — Sara Lewis, “Silent Sparks: The Wonderous World of Fireflies” Do you remember the first time you saw fireflies? I vividly recall one warm summer […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: Gray tree frogs produce nightly lullabies

June 23, 2019

It was a chilly, sunny autumn morning when I discovered a frog in the grass below a maple tree in my yard. The cool weather had slowed its metabolism, and it hardly moved when I picked it up and held it in my hand. Its […]


Exploring The Last Green Valley: We can help protect our pollinators

June 16, 2019

I am pretty sure my neighbors drive by our house and wonder when we’re going to mow the lawn. The fact is, we care more about the wildflowers and important pollinating insects making our yard and fields home than we care about how it looks […]