2017 Annual Appeal

Dear Neighbor,

 These lands are your lands. And that’s the reason we are writing to you today.

Your support helps us maintain and actively manage woodlands and wetlands, quiet ponds and bucolic meadows — all protected forever for you and future generations to enjoy.

This year, as we turn toward the next generation of landsavers, we thank all of those friends who helped establish the rural character, scenic vistas and unspoiled lands that make Redding the treasure it is today. Your generosity is essential to our land-keeping mission.

And we warmly welcome new members, especially during this Sestercentennial year marking Redding’s 250th Anniversary. To keep our wildlife habitats and preserves healthy, we ask for your vital support.

If you’ve ever wondered, ‘does my support of the Land Trust matter?’  Let us assure you, it matters a great deal. Your gift means we can:

•Clear trails after major storms and blaze new ones.

•Keep roadside vistas from disappearing along our many scenic roads.

•Mow meadows annually to support wildlife habitats as they dwindle elsewhere.

•Protect our clean water as it percolates down and into our wells.

•Provide small, medium and large sanctuaries to escape an electronic world and enjoy the birds, mammals, amphibians, butterflies, plants, and trees that live nearby.

•Address encroachments on our lands to fulfill the original land donor’s vision.

•Assist with donations of land and purchase critical parcels as necessary.

•Encourage future ecologists with the recently named Mary Anne Guitar Scholarship for Environmental Education awarded each year at Joel Barlow High School.

We work for you, the people of Redding, for whom these amazing green spaces have been preserved. We are your landkeepers, managing more than 1,800 protected acres and we thank you for sharing and defining our mission for over 50 years.

In 1965, Mary Anne Guitar helped to found the Redding Land Trust. This year, in August, the Town, family, friends and Trustees gathered to celebrate her life. We are pleased to share with you the news that Mary Anne has bequeathed four acres of her idyllic woodland and pond to the Trust. Furthermore, Redding Land Trust and the Redding Conservation Commission have named the jointly held, 31-acre mixed forest at 18 Hill Road in honor of Mary Anne Guitar. In 2018, this land of historic importance in the heart of Redding will be dedicated as The Mary Anne Guitar Preserve. Mary Anne’s generosity and leadership led the way for a “clean and green” Redding and it is our continued partnerships within our community — with our members, the Trail Tenders, the Town of Redding and many others — that keep her vision a reality to benefit all.

We ask that you join us by contributing online at www.reddingctlandtrust.org. We are grateful for your fully tax deductible gift of support. You are also invited to attend our Annual Meeting in April, to learn more about Land Trust properties and our special events.

And we ask just one more thing

Delight in our shared legacy — explore and expand your personal horizons with family and friends on protected lands by taking leisurely trail walks, by observing a meadow’s unique ecosystem, or by listening to the sounds of a cascading stream. We are stewards of Redding land that will be here for future generations. But for today and tomorrow, these lands are your lands. Enjoy!

With Gratitude,

Silvia Erskine and Gordon Loery

Co-Presidents

Redding Land Trust, Inc.

 

 

Visit to Warrups Farm in 1767

By Jane Ross, August 2017. 

No gala benefit has ever been more aptly named than the August 26 celebration hosted by the Redding Land Trust at historic Warrup’s Farm under a flawless sunset sky. In commemoration of the Town’s 250th anniversary, some 120 revelers sipped seventeenth-century libations and feasted on authentic fare from colonial days under tents with tables set with the china and silverware typical of that long-ago era.

Festivities began at the Well – a bar serving grog, switchel and shrub - at the rear of the Hill family’s magnificent 1830’s home on land carved from Redding founder John Read’s original 1,000 acre farm first owned by Chicken Warrups and where the Land Trust now holds a conservation easement. Cider and spruce ale, rather than the Well’s rum and gin based drinks, were poured at a nearby stand where guests relished trout, duck and cheese, all garnished to old-time perfection.

As guests next gathered around the dinner buffet table, they were treated to roast pig, grilled squash, maize (aka corn), and ground nuts (aka Indian potatoes) and kale salad. Bottles of Bordeaux, America’s first imported wine, dotted the table next to jars of local wildflowers. The meal was prefaced by Jerusalem artichoke soup and brought to a delicious close by a dessert of berry cobbler with sweet cream.

“A Night to Remember” co-chairs, Laurie Heiss and Mary Ann Carman, worked wonders to realize every educational and enjoyable detail that made the evening so memorable, from the guided tours of the farm, to the traditional folk music of Noah Feldman, the talk by ethnobotanist Dr. Manuel Lizarralde, the skills of chef Michael Ferro, to the rousing sound of two drummers marching from nearby woods.

“We owe special thanks and gratitude to farm owners Bill and Laura Hill and to a committee of Redding volunteers - Ed Dzubak, Karen Gifford, Hugh Karraker, Janice Meehan, Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Nancy Pelz-Paget, Kim O’Rielly and Cecilia Staunton - who helped make the evening such a success,” said Mary Ann Carman.  Laurie Heiss added, “The evening would not have been possible without the participation of so many benefit supporters and especially our generous partnering sponsor Ancona’s Wine and Liquors and John Read Trailblazer sponsors, Anne and Chuck Nemetz, and the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Team Lisa Pompeo, Marilyn Sloper, Margi Esten and Posie Morgan, “Your Redding Real Estate Experts.”

 

Memorial for Mary Anne Guitar

By Jane Ross, August 2017. 

Family, friends and neighbors gather to remember the life of Mary Anne Guitar. -Photo by Jane Merritt

Family, friends and neighbors gather to remember the life of Mary Anne Guitar.
-Photo by Jane Merritt

The sun breaking through the misty late afternoon sky was a perfect omen for the glowing accolades to come for beloved community leader Mary Anne Guitar at her memorial gathering on August 12 at Lonetown Meadow. Family members, dear friends and those who had known and thrived under her special gifts of strength, vision and companionship took to the podium one by one to recount the important influence she had on their lives.

Nick Zittell opened the tributes as he talked of spending each Christmas with Mary Anne, one of the Smith alumna pals of his mother who with other Smith alums “adopted” him and his twin brother on the untimely death of his mother in childbirth. Guitar’s Connecticut cousin Mary Guitar, who spent much time with Mary Anne and was of great comfort to her in recent years, recounted highlights of her life which had its roots in Missouri before college and a stint as an editor and writer in New York City and then becoming for many years a legendary part of Redding, Carrick Blair, Mary Anne’s longtime gardener, spoke of her passion for trees and flowers and plants of every kind, especially her heirloom tomatoes.

Nick Zittell speaks at the memorial for Mary Anne Guitar. -Photo by Jane Merritt

Nick Zittell speaks at the memorial for Mary Anne Guitar.
-Photo by Jane Merritt

 Bill Hill, owner of Warrup’s Farm, talked of the passionate cooperation between Guitar and his father Sam Hill, first chairman on the Town’s Conservation Commission, who together helped found the conservation movement in Redding. Mary Erlanger, who always shared birthday parties with her close friend and who ran Guitar’s successful campaigns for First Selectman, told of her early years in public life.

Gene Connolly, Trustee of the Redding Land Trust for forty-four years, spoke of Guitar’s life as a gardener, reader, writer and activist in warm and personal terms. Of Mary Anne, one of the Trust’s founders and its long-serving President, he said, “You are fierce, ferocious and fantastic, we all loved being on your exciting team, earnest, ambitious and successful…your fifty seven years here have been a beautiful, splendid era.”

Kerry Canfield, Mary Anne’s favorite companion and helper in her older years, spoke of how she could continue to exert her influence on and share her advice with others well into her nineties. Ann Taylor, director of New Pond Farm, where Guitar was Board Chair for many years, detailed her work with New Pond’s owner Carmen Matthews in assuring the Farm’s flourishing today. The Town’s Land Use Manager Jo-an Brooks read a proclamation from First Selectman Julia Pemberton outlining Guitar’s history as a public servant as Selectman and the first woman First Selectman serving for six two-year terms. Former First Selectman Natalie Ketcham, who noted that as a Republican she and Democrat Guitar were sometimes at odds, tipped her hat to her colleague’s ubiquity be saying. “I wanted a pool in Redding. Mary Anne did not. You know who won.”

Photo and posters like this one recall Mary Anne's devotion to the environment and town of Redding. - Photo by Jane Merritt

Photo and posters like this one recall Mary Anne's devotion to the environment and town of Redding. - Photo by Jane Merritt

Tina Miller, Guitar’s good friend and fellow Smith College alumna, had the last tribute, reading from a memoir of Guitar’s words that she had assembled though an interview and other clever means. The entire manuscript is posted here.

The crowd of some 150 people then mingled to drink champagne and exchange their favorite memories of Mary Anne. The red barn behind the Redding Historical Society was filled with memorabilia from Guitar’s ninety-five amazing years as friend, mentor, bon vivant and leader.


From Tina Miller

You’ve heard all about Mary Anne’s life and accomplishments from the others who have spoken today –about Mary Anne the loyal and loving friend, brilliant strategist, raconteur without peer, bon vivant, cook and host par excellence, accomplished wordsmith, dedicated environmentalist, and inspired gardener--about her vision and humor and warmth.

Is there anything still left to say after all that? Well, for one thing, I can say with complete certainty that Mary Anne would have wanted to be here today to listen to what we were saying about her.

But since she couldn’t join us, I wondered how I could convey something of Mary Anne’s own inimitable voice. Luckily, among Mary Anne’s possessions was this little Green book that I’m holding up now, in which are collected some of pithy sayings. And so, I present to you: Quotations from Chairman Mary Anne Guitar*:

Mary Erlanger, Emily d'Aulaire and former First Selectman Natalie Ketcham. -Photo by Jane Merritt.

Mary Erlanger, Emily d'Aulaire and former First Selectman Natalie Ketcham.
-Photo by Jane Merritt.

It all began in St. Joe in 1922. I lived there until I was seventeen and went off to Smith College to find freedom, hope and opportunity. My father said I had a very happy childhood. My Aunt Clara said it was perfectly horrible. Somewhere in-between lies the truth.

We lived next to Corby Grove, my first experience with open space. I went out with my dog, Spotty, every day prowling around, catching tadpoles, baking mud balls for neighborhood fights, carrying my beebee gun, having a totally free and unfettered childhood.

Starting in high school, I knew what I wanted to do—have a literary career. I remember someone saying to me, oh, maybe you can be Ernest Hemingway’s secretary and I said, no, I want to be Ernest Hemingway. I knew I could make a living at it and I did. I was a freelance writer and I was good at it.

The magazine business was a lot like college in one way because it was all contacts, all connections, all networking, all having lunch with an editor and trying to sell a story. It was a totally entrepreneurial life and it suited me. People who like certitude shouldn’t be freelancers and they shouldn’t be politicians.

I feel I was lucky that the thing that was the perfect fit for me also turned out to be the timely, trendy thing of the 70’s, which was the environment. When I located myself on that spectrum I was home.

Betty Friedan and I used to sit around and have lunch and talk about how we could become celebrities without actually doing anything. Well, we both worked very hard to achieve something, and I found that through Redding. If I hadn’t come to Redding, of course, I wouldn’t have had the canvas to work on. I had no idea that Redding would turn into a career.

The title for my political playbook is Bipartisan Coalition for Clean & Green. You could always attract people, regardless of their politics, if you had an agenda on an issue that everybody could agree on-- and that was clean environment, lots of open space, good schools and a rural atmosphere and slow growth.

Things like the power line come back. It’s like woodchucks in your garden. It’s nice to know that you have defeated so-called progress, and I’m proud of it.

I was the first woman First Selectman. Nobody is really trained for this. That’s what’s great about politics. It is the ideal place for a generalist.

It’s always exhilarating to be in public life if you’re on the side of the angels. You have to be, in fact. Somebody in town once said to me, you must have skin of a crocodile. I said, “Well, you develop it.” It must be some masochistic trait but I think it goes back to the old general up there, I mean there was just something about the pleasure of doing them in. Nothing beats it.

You have to be able to look out a little bit –to be able to anticipate and have some foresight. I don’t see how people are going to operate without knowing how it’s going to work out ––having 360 degree vision—you have to see around corners and see who’s coming.

In political life, it was really hard to have to tolerate so many suggestions from people. I didn’t want anybody to tell me what to do. That’s why my cat and I are so much alike. And yet you develop that ability. If the goal is important enough and your motivation is strong enough and you want to get there enough, you grin and bear it and listen and then just go do the opposite.

One of my old political cronies gave me a T-shirt, which said: “I may have my faults but being wrong isn’t one of them.”

My cat Marguerite, known as Shorty because the vet said, “Hey Shorty, hold still,” is determined to be a person, and succeeding. Cats are more like freelance people. They’re on their own. This cat has a power over other people that I admire.

They always say there’s a Guitar gardening gene and I certainly got it. I love all these wild colors in the garden. Whenever I go back to Smith, I go to the botanic garden and say to myself, why didn’t you take that instead of Physics?

People garden according to their temperaments and the way they see life, and the satisfaction they get out of it or don’t get out of it. So it’s all learning about what’s living in a garden. Living a composted life. Just keep replenishing it with people and gardens and issues.

*Drawn from the 2002 Oral History: Tina Miller interview with Mary Anne Guitar

END

Here's to the girl from Corby Grove who made --and did--good. Her foresight, leadership, intelligence and friendship have improved the lives of those around her, and many more to come. She had the vision and determination to keep our Town a nice place to live. Kudos, with love and gratitude to Mary Anne --the mentor who truly led by example.

 

 

Mary Anne Guitar Memorial

Mary Anne Guitar

Mary Anne Guitar

A public gathering to celebrate the life of Mary Anne Guitar will be held on Saturday, Aug.12, at 4:30 p.m. at the Redding Historical Society, 43 Lonetown Road, near the Community Garden, organized by Mary Anne’s “Connecticut cousin,” Mary Guitar. Mary Anne served the residents of Redding in an official capacity for over a quarter of a century, but her love for Redding, and Reddingites, goes back some sixty years: through her work with the Town Hall, New Pond Farm, the League of Women Voters, the Land Trust, the Old Redding Road neighborhood and the Democratic Town Committee.

Parking will be at the Historical Society meadow. Seniors and those with mobility concerns can be dropped off directly at the tent, with parking nearby. Police will be on site to direct traffic. The large tent (with hundreds of chairs) will be between the historic house and barn (the Rock‘n Roots/Fireworks space). Those without transportation can request pick up/drop off service by the Senior Center van. Please call Gordon Loery (203.938.4774) by Friday morning to add your name to this list.

After the program, everyone is invited to be together for the champagne toast, and light refreshments. Friends are invited to share their anecdotes about and memories of Mary Anne. In the barn will be ‘memory boards’ ‒ gleanings from Mary Anne’s many boxes of memorabilia, along with a lovely profusion of flowers from her garden and land trust open spaces. The last of four videos that she helped produce, “A Love Letter to Redding” will be projected in the barn.

The site of this memorial gathering is significant: just east of the Community Garden where Mary Anne grew her prized tomatoes, just north of the first open space parcel acquired by the Town (Lonetown Marsh, aka Murphy’s Swamp) and just south of Warrup’s Farm where she and Sam Hill and Stuart Chase cooked up the notion of saving Redding as a clean and green oasis in a rapidly developing Fairfield County. It is the very heart of her Redding.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her name can be sent to the Mary Anne Guitar Education Fund (checks made out to the Redding Land Trust with Mary Anne Guitar Education Fund in memo line) or to one of the boards she sat on and held dear: the League of Women Voters, New Pond Farm, The Redding Land Trust and the Mark Twain Library.

 

Butterfly Count Co-sponsored by Land Trust

By Laurie Heiss and Jane Ross, June 2017.

Meadow_Jones_2016_IMG_3039-300x118.jpg

On Saturday July 1st at 9:30 am, you have a perfect chance to learn about one of Redding’s natural historical treasures – its varied and beautiful butterflies. The Redding Land Trust is co-sponsoring an outdoor discussion and meadow walk with butterfly expert Victor DeMasi and his loyal team of experienced butterfly “spotters” in the area of the Crossfield Meadow at the bottom of Cross Highway. To keep meadows like Crossfield open for butterflies, dragonflies and bird populations, the RLT pays for annual mowing of all the meadows it owns so that the public may enjoy these unique plant and animal habitats.

Every July, for well over 20 years, Vic and his team join other butterfly spotters all over the country for the National Butterfly Count. Now you can walk, watch and learn as butterflies are identified and counted, and you, as a spotter-in-training, can refer to an identification guide provided by the RLT. Victor as a master caller/observer also provides an identity for the “hard ones.”

Before the two forays into the meadows on both sides of Cross Highway and while you are enjoying coffee, juice and breakfast goodies, Vic and his team will talk about the diverse butterfly population in Redding and put it in the context of national populations, butterfly migration issues and habitat loss. In Redding we are fortunate to have healthy butterfly habitats and dedicated butterfly observers.

One meadow has paths so that visitors can observe the butterflies and spotters without walking through the 4-5 foot tall meadows. The other meadow, Crossfield, has no paths so long sleeves, long pants and closed shoes are a must. Please park and meet at 105 and 107 Cross Highway. At 11:15 the team is off to record butterflies at four other Redding sites.

For more information, please email Redding Land Trust at info@reddingctlandtrust.org

 

 

Ross Ramble Dedicated at the Brinkerhoff Preserve

By: Stuart Green

The White Trail in the Brinckerhoff was renamed Ross Ramble in honor of Jane and her late husband Jere Ross. With Jane as Secretary of the Land Trust and Jere a member of the Conservation Commission for decades it was the perfect tribute for their contribution to open space preservation, conservation and our trails!

A Night to Remember...A Visit to Warrup's Farm, 1767

On August 26th, be a part of Redding’s 250th Anniversary Celebration by joining the Redding Land Trust at a gala feast on the historic 300-acre Warrup’s Farm named in honor of Redding’s original, indigenous resident. Guests will tour this landmark farm estate with signature cocktails and celebrate with a colonial dinner inspired by the natural abundance of the land. Enjoy a unique meal while Manuel Lizarralde, Ph.D, links the menu to 1767. Remarks by Bill Hill and colonial entertainment. 

We think a visit to Redding’s colonial past in celebration of its founding, and in support of the Redding Land Trust’s mission, will surely be “a night to remember,” and we recommend reserving seats now. 

When:
Saturday, August 26th
4:30-8pm
Rain or shine.

Where:
Warrup’s Farm, John Read Road, Redding, CT  (enter from route 107)
Cost: $125 per person


Update- A Night to Remember is SOLD OUT. Please call or text Mary Ann Carman 203-312-4545 or Laurie Heiss 203-940-6644 if you have questions. 

*Would you like to be an Event Sponsor? You will receive promotional visibility for your organization, and gratitude from a community of committed conservationists! Please email warrups1767@gmail.com to receive sponsor information.

JBHS Graduate Nick Nonnenmacher Wins Land Trust Scholarship

By Jane Ross, June 2017

Barlow Principal Dr. Gina Pin, Nicholas Nonnenmacher and Redding Land Trust Treasurer Sean McNamara.

Barlow Principal Dr. Gina Pin, Nicholas Nonnenmacher and Redding Land Trust Treasurer Sean McNamara.

At the Joel Barlow High School Awards ceremony on Thursday, June 1st,  Nicholas Andreas Nonnenmacher was awarded the Redding Land Trust Scholarship Award.   An outstanding scholar and swimmer, Nick has played many leadership roles at JBHS, including member of the Barlow Leadership Team and Integrity Club, and as guide for incoming freshmen, among other roles. He graduates with a Diploma of Distinction.

Awarded to a graduating senior who is interested in pursuing studies in the field of conservation, environmental studies, forestry or ecology, the Redding Land Trust recognition will help Nick explore options in all these fields at Middlebury College in Vermont.