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Exploring The Last Green Valley: It’s time to spring outdoors


Exploring The Last Green Valley: It’s time to spring outdoors

Just a few days ago, at 6:28 a.m. Monday, marked the Vernal Equinox — the first day of spring.

The winter of 2017 will go down as relatively mild, with not too many snowstorms in The Last Green Valley, though March certainly went out like a lion with the blizzard on March 14.

 We survived the winter and now celebrate springtime in our beautiful region.

My colleagues here at The Last Green Valley have been hard at work developing a season-long program to help entice you to get outdoors and connect to the lands, waters and trails in the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor, including some properties not normally accessible to the public.

During this glorious spring season we want to share with you many locations and organizations that make our region such a beautiful place to live, work and play.

Spring Outdoors, now in its second year, officially kicked off this week and is a three month-long program of walks and experiences similar in scope to TLGV’s Walktober program held each fall.

Walktober has grown to almost 300 opportunities for you to enjoy the natural and cultural resources of the 35-town National Heritage Corridor, and with Spring Outdoors already offering more than 100 activities, it is clear this new program has the potential to match the impact of Walktober.

The best way to learn about Spring Outdoors is to visit The Last Green Valley website at and click on the Explore tab, then the Spring Outdoors tab, for a web-based brochure that can be downloaded and printed. Or you can cut and paste this link in your browser:

You’ll find walks, hikes, paddles and experiences offered by many of the groups and associations that are actively conserving and preserving cultural and natural resources in our region. Here is a list of those offered through April; see the website for specific information, times and locations.

    • Friends of Goodwin Forest, Hampton, March 26, Climate Change Program.
    • Joshua’s Trust, Mansfield, March 26, Spring along the Willimantic River.
    • US Army Corps of Engineers at Hodges Village Dam, Oxford, Mass., March 26, Spring Rains Story.
    • TLGV Ranger Marcy’s Acorn Adventure, Chaplin, March 26, Spring along the Air Line Trail.
    • CT Audubon Society at Pomfret, March 26, Climate Change Program.
    • Wyndham Land Trust, Woodstock, April 1, Walk in the Spalding/Rapoport Preserve.
    • CT Audubon Society at Pomfret, April 1 and 7, Vernal Pool Inventory Trainings.
    • Leffingwell House Museum, Norwich, April 1, Season Opening and Unveiling of Historic 13 Star Flag.
    • Norwich Historical Society, April 8, Civil War History at Yantic Cemetery, and Notables of the Yantic Cemetery.
    • Blue Slope Country Museum, Franklin, April 8, Stew and Stories of Farming in Connecticut.
    • Hale YMCA Youth and Family Center, Pomfret, April 8, Family Hike in Mashamoquet Brook State Park.
    • New Roxbury Land Trust, Woodstock, April 9, Messing About in a Vernal Pool.
    • US Army Corps of Engineers at Hodges Village Dam, Oxford, Mass., April 9, Full Moon Vernal Pool Walk.
    • Horizon Wings Raptor Rescue and Joshua’s Trust, Ashford, April 13, Owl Visit and Iron Mine Walk.
    • CT Eastern Rail Road Museum, Coventry, April 14, Walk the Hop River Trail.
    • The Last Green Valley and McLean Research Associates, Danielson, April 14, Get the Scoop on Pluto.
    • Quinebaug Valley Community College, Danielson, April 18, Earth Day Fair.
    • The Last Green Valley and McLean Research Associates, Franklin, April 21, Deep Sky Observing.
    • Avalonia Land Conservancy, North Stonington, April 22, Earth Day Guided Hike.
    • Town of Mansfield, April 22, Build Your Own Rain Barrel Workshop.
    • Windham-Tolland 4H Camp, Pomfret, April 22, Camper Scamper 5k Road Race and Kids 1 Miler.
    • Wyndham Land Trust, Pomfret, April 22, Salamander Search at Lyon Preserve.
    • Joshua’s Trust, Mansfield, April 22, Ponds, Dams, and Walls with UConn Professor Thorson.
    • CT Eastern Rail Road Museum, Willimantic, April 22, Tour of Three Bridges in Downtown Willimantic.
    • Opacum Land Trust & Hitchcock Free Academy, Brimfield, April 22, Tour of Dingle Dell Property, Land, Streams and Photos.
    • Sturbridge Lion’s Club, April 23, All American Quinebaug River Race.
    • TLGV Ranger Marcy’s April Acorn Adventure, Holland, April 23, Salamander Story Walk along Lake Siog Trail.
    • Eastern Connecticut Forest Landowners Association and Wolf Den Land Trust, Mansfield, April 23, Woodland Tour and Program on Patch Cuts.
    • Town of Mansfield, April 27, No-Till Gardening Workshop.
    • Paddle Killingly, Hampton, April 29, Paddle Pine Acres Lake.
    • Town of Mansfield, April 29, Wildflowers, Birds and Insects at Mt. Hope Park.
    • Town of Charlton, April 29, Earth Day Festival and Town Cleanup.
    • Opacum Land Trust, Southbridge, Mass., April 30, Plant Identification at Claire Birtz Sanctuary.
    • Lisbon Historical Society, April 30, Country Synagogue Tour and Talk.
    • Thompson Trail Committee, April 30, Geocaching 101, a Hidden World Waiting to be Discovered.

The month of April and Earth Day bring out community spirit with many organized cleanups that are also part of Spring Outdoors and funded in part by The Last Green Valley.

If you’re interested in helping out, check out the detailed information on the Earth Month & River Cleanups page under the “Learn and Protect” tab on The Last Green Valley’s website.

There you have it! A month of opportunities to get outdoors, learn, have fun and experience so many wonders right here in The Last Green Valley.

I hope you’ll take part in one of the programs, and don’t forget this is only a listing through April so check out the TLGV website for the full listing for May and June as well.

Together, let us join these great organizations as we work together to care for, enjoy and pass on this beautiful place we call The Last Green Valley.

Bill Reid is chief ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for 35 years. He can be reached at

The Norwich Bulletin is granted first serial rights and associated electronic rights to publish the preceding article. The Last Green Valley, Inc. retains all other rights to the work.


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