The Old Lyme Land Trust will host its 51st Annual Meeting on Sunday March 19, at the Lymes’ Senior Center, Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme. The meeting will begin at 3 p.m. with refreshments, and the public is invited.
The Trust will also present the 2017 annual Volunteer of the Year Award at the meeting. This award is given annually to recognize extraordinary volunteer service to the Trust, and by extension, to the Town of Old Lyme. All residents of Old Lyme and neighboring towns can enjoy the 14 preserves and over 1,100 acres maintained by Old Lyme Land Trust.
The 2016 recipient was Rob Evans of Old Lyme for his work in building and maintaining walking trails in the Hatchett’s Hill Preserve. Evans’ work included construction of two bridges in the preserve.
The featured guest speaker at the meeting will be Dr. R. Scott Warren, an internationally recognized authority on the ecology of tidal wetlands. Dr. Warren recently retired from a distinguished career at Connecticut College and stays active in the field. He is currently serving as Sr. Scientific Adviser to the Coastal Waters Consortium of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. His current focus is research on the effects of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.
In 1971 representatives of seven nations met in Ramsar, Iran, to sign the first-ever intergovernmental treaty for global conservation. Its purpose was, and is, the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. Sites selected for their critical importance are designated “Wetlands of International Importance”.
Today 90 percent of the United Nations member states, 169 countries, have signed the Ramsar Convention, and there are 2,231 Ramsar Wetlands worldwide. Only 38 are in the United States, and only one is in New England – the “Connecticut River Estuary and Tidal Wetlands Complex”, most of which is in Old Lyme.
Dr. Warren’s talk, “Connecticut River Tidal Marshes: Ecology and Significance,” will cover their basic ecology, how sea level is affecting marshes, and why they are such important ecosystems. An engaging and animated speaker, Dr. Warren will use photographs, maps, and other props to illustrate his points. This is a great opportunity to come learn about these vitally important and very delicate natural systems.
The OLLT is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization and several hundred of the acres it protects are wetlands, both tidal and freshwater. All 14 OLLT preserves are open to the public, with walking trails that lead to wonderful places.
You can gaze across the Connecticut River, including some of those Ramsar Wetlands, from the shore at Whaleback Rock, or climb rocky ridges covered with Mountain Laurel and tall pines. There are trails through large, unbroken tracts where rare birds hide, and a guided trail for children at the Mile Creek Preserve.
Chances are that if you live in Old Lyme, you’re not far from an OLLT preserve. The Trust will also announce the recent acquisition of additional acreage and plans for continuing to grow preserved lands in Old Lyme.
The OLLT is a private nonprofit corporation not affiliated with the town government. Membership is open to all.
Join the OLTT for an entertaining and informative afternoon on March 19, and learn more about your local land trust. The meeting is from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 126 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme. All are welcome and admission is free.