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

Chaplin: A Village Suspended in Time

August 25, 2020

In preparing for this article I perused the Town of Chaplin website. A section about the town’s history starts with this sentence, “An extraordinary early 19th century building boom and a 20th century road improvement project created Chaplin, a village suspended in time.” I first…

A Public and Private Partnership to Conserve Purple Martins

August 18, 2020

I always enjoy hearing from readers of this column. A few weeks back Mariano Librojo from Norwich contacted me and sent pictures of three purple martin “apartments” he erected in his backyard. The structures are set up on tall poles and each has a cluster…

Burdock, the “Velcro” of wild plants

August 11, 2020

“Nature seems partial to the burdock. What extra pains she seems to have taken to perpetuate this worse than useless plant! Every man’s hand is against it, and nearly every animal has reason to detest it. Against their wills they are engaged in sowing its…

Dweller of both woods and water: eastern or red-spotted newt

August 4, 2020

After a dry spell we finally had two days with a combination of passing showers, an evening of steady rain and then heavy downpours by the bucket-full for 10 to 20 minutes or so. The following day was sunny and very warm, so I took…

Exploring Bald Eagle Nests in The Last Green Valley

July 29, 2020

For several years now I have hiked a little used trail that winds along the banks of a tributary to the Quinebaug River. The river twists through a heavy canopy of trees and can be 30 or more feet from bank to bank. Every year…

The American Chestnut Tree: Tragic Past and Hopeful Future

July 27, 2020

On a late June morning I met up with about 25 people at the parking area of the Wyndham Land Trust’s Bull Hill Project in Thompson and Woodstock. We weren’t there just to hike to the top of Bull Hill for the view, rather we…

Bluebird numbers on the rise

July 13, 2020

“When Nature made the bluebird she wished to propitiate both the sky and the earth, so she gave him the color of the one on his back and the hue of the other on his breast, and ordained that his appearance in the spring should…

Exploring the final resting places of historically interesting people

July 8, 2020

The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor was home to many fascinating people. Some are well known throughout the state and country for their roles in government, business and the military. Others are known to us for their writing, art and activism. There are others…

First days of summer bring backyard blooms and bugs

July 6, 2020

The first day of summer 2020 saw temperatures reaching the high-80s. A perfect, hot, lazy Saturday to stay home, tend to outdoor chores and enjoy the emerging signs of the season. Sunup to sundown found me doing some form of yard and garden work with…

A Rare Snake Sighting: The Northern Black Racer

June 29, 2020

Last week I was out walking the boundary line of our back pasture. I had our dog, Russell, with me, and we were along the edge of the field where brush and small saplings have sprouted in an area of about six feet  or more…

A Morning Birthday Walk

June 21, 2020

The older I get the less birthdays mean to me. All I wish for is a quiet day, a meal with my wife and a few friends and time for contemplation. The kids and siblings will call, and I will sing along as my sister…

Exploring Joshua’s Trust Allanach-Wolf and Tinkerville Brook Properties

June 11, 2020

If you are a regular reader of this column you know I’ve been visiting land trust properties in The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor this spring. I’ve shared some of my finds already. Today I want to tell you about two properties owned by…