New Pond Farm: A Connecticut Dairy Farm of Distinction

selection and purchase of the equipment.) Last winter I had breakfast with our ... 14” Celestron telescope, a laptop computer, a CCD camera and accessories ...
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Summer 2007 Vol. 25 No. 2

Director’s Update Dear Friends,

New Pond Farm: A Connecticut Dairy Farm of Distinction


ongratulations to Farm Manager Chris Casiello, Assistant Farm Manager Travis Bennett and their wonderful team. On June 29th Commissioner Prelli from the Department of Agriculture and members of the Connecticut Farm Beautification Program presented New Pond with the Connecticut Dairy Farm of Distinction award. This is such an honor and it recognizes the years of dedication and professionalism exhibited by Chris and the staff. The award is part of the dairy industry’s celebration of June is Dairy Month and the Connecticut Farm Beautification Program which pays tribute to attractive farmsteads where high-quality milk is produced. The program is in its 22nd year honoring dairy farmers in Connecticut. To qualify, the farms must pass all state inspections and meet all milk quality requirements during the previous year. The goal of the committee is to recognize outstanding dairy farmers and promote the dairy industry. The Connecticut Farm Beautification Program is a non-profit organization made of Department of Agriculture staff and representatives from the Connecticut dairy industry. Farms are nominated in the Spring and evaluated on their attractiveness by a judging team. New Pond was the only farm to qualify for the award this year, and it is interesting to note that there weren’t any farms that qualified for the award in 2005 and 2006 – so we are particularly proud to have met all of their strict standards! ■

Page 2 . First Selectman’s Proclamation, New Pond Farm Joins Pilot Farmstead Cheese Program, With Thanks To..., Wish List Page 3 . On Longtime Members, Capital Campaign Update Page 4 . A Time to Grow, a Time to Change, The Space Between Page 5 . Juan's Letter, Two Grants, the Perseid Meteor Showers Page 6 . Get Down to Earth, Middle School 6th Graders Head Outdoors Page 7 . First NPF Art Show, Annual Golf Outing, Tile Wall Project Page 8 . Watershed Streamwalk Program, Third Annual Harvest Dinner Page 9 . Introducing Bernard, Membership

This issue of Down to Earth is brimming with news of the many wonderful things that have been happening at New Pond Farm. In June we were presented with the Connecticut Dairy Farm of Distinction Award. We had a lovely celebration – Commissioner Prelli from the Dept. of Agriculture read a congratulatory statement from Governor Jodi Rell, and Redding’s First Selectman Natalie Ketcham shared her own proclamation. We are thrilled with this honor and congratulate Farm Manager Chris Casiello and his team. We have also been the recipients of several fantastic grants. Two of these will enhance our astronomy programs, another significant grant will allow us to improve our composting techniques in the future, and still other gifts will support our summer camp. In addition to all of this great news our camp is going beautifully, Summer Shakespeare has been a huge success as our 16 middle school actors amazed our audiences with their professional performances of As You Like It, the vegetable gardens are brimming with summer’s bounty, and our pastures are filled with calves, lambs and piglets. Looking ahead to August and September we will be hosting our Annual Harvest Dinner with renowned chef Michel Nischan, we hope that you will join us for delicious farm fare. We will also be showcasing beautiful artwork created by more than 50 local artists all relating to the farm. August also brings the Perseid Meteor Shower with great viewing out on Astronomy Hill, and in September we will hold our fourth annual Golf Outing. We look forward to seeing you! Please read on for more details. With warm regards, Ann Taylor, Executive Director

Down to Earth Issued Seasonally by New Pond Farm Redding, Connecticut — FOUNDERS Carmen Mathews Sally Trippe BOARD OF DIRECTORS Sharon Coates President Mary Anne Guitar First Vice President Peg O'Donnell Treasurer Jill Kotch Secretary Sam Crocker Jim Demaree Sue Dorenbosch Jean Schroeder DIRECTOR EMERITUS Helen Hermes STAFF Ann Taylor Executive Director Chris Casiello Farm Manager Kristen Gould Program Director Travis Bennett Assistant Farm Manager Dona Esposito Office Manager Tammy Conley Membership Coordinator

— New Pond Farm Box 116 101 Marchant Road West Redding, CT 06896 Tel.: 203.938.2117, 938-7098 Fax: 203.938.9593 — On the Internet: — E-mail: [email protected] — New Pond Farm is a program of the New Pond Foundation. We are largely supported by membership, program fees, and contributions. Please call for membership information. Photos are credited to NPF staff and Marion Hichwa.

Unless otherwise noted, all copy is written by Ann Taylor


——— First Selectman’s Proclamation ——— hereas, through the foresight and

generosity of actress and environmentalist Carmen Mathews, the 102 acres of pastures, streams, and woodlands known as New Pond Farm are permanently preserved as open space through a conservation easement to the Redding Land Trust, and

Whereas, since 1984, with the ongoing and active support of New Pond Farm’s Board of Directors and Staff, New Pond Farm has developed into a year round environmental learning center while retaining its valuable roots as a working farm, and Whereas, as a state licensed dairy, New Pond Farm offers citizens of the twenty-first century an opportunity to connect “with the land that enriches and sustains us all” by providing outstanding fresh milk and cheese right next to the well-cared for source, Now, therefore, I, Natalie Ketcham, First Selectman of the Town of Redding, Connecticut, do salute New Pond Farm on earning the coveted award of Connecticut Dairy Farm of Distinction and express great pride and gratitude for New Pond Farm’s presence and role in our community, as environmental educators, stewards of these 102 acres of heaven in our midst, and producers of the very best that the land and Mother Nature have to offer us. In Witness Whereof, I set my hand and cause the seal of the Town of Redding, Connecticut to be affixed this 29th day of June in the year 2007. Natalie Ketcham First Selectman

New Pond Farm Joins Pilot Farmstead Cheese Program


s many of you know our Farm Manager, Chris Casiello has become quite an accomplished cheesemaker over the past several years. The refrigerator in the Dairy Annex is home to delicious aged varieties such as Gouda and Gruyere, Cheddar, Caerphilly, and now mold-ripened cheeses like Camembert. Twenty-three farms throughout New England have been chosen (we are one of three in Connecticut) to participate in a Sustainable Agriculture

With Thanks To... • STEVE SOLER for purchasing children’s tiles for each inner city camper. They are so excited about being a part of our tile wall project! A lovely gift. • ALLEN PURKISS & FAMILY for their donation of four 6-person tents for our camp. The campouts are now going beautifully! • NANCY & BRUCE GIVEN for swim goggles for our inner city campers. • REDDING NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE’S 9th grade girls for making cozy polar fleece blankets for each of our inner city campers! • THE STABILE FAMILY for the bounty of craft items. • THE AJAVANANDA-HAUGHAN FAMILY for their wonderful gift of a Native American Infant Doll to be used in our programs.

Research Education project, spearheaded by cheesemaker and consultant Peter Dixon. Between now and December, bi-monthly samples of milk and cheese will be sent to Agri-Mart lab in Massachusetts for analysis, this testing will be similar to that undergone by European cheesemakers. After reviewing all of the data, the quality of artisanal cheesemaking in New England will be evaluated. Chris and the other cheesemakers, as well as our consumers, will benefit from this very worthwhile monitoring program. ■ • WES AND MARY LIEBTAG for a new set of gardening tools. • JILL KOTCH for all of her help with mask making for Summer Shakespeare and ceramics programs for our summer camp! • JOAN CULLMAN for our subscription to People,

Places and Plants

Wish List • • • •

a second hand truck with a dumping bed a new weed whacker sturdy rakes & snow shovels multiple sets of binoculars for our early morning birdwalks • outdoor games for the campers • a new Twister game for the campers • gift certificate to a local bookstore

Down to Earth • Summer 2007

On Longtime Members


n my last newsletter article I commented on how important Membership is to the existence of New Pond. Since then I have learned that 126 Families (out of the current 750) have been with us for ten years or more. I want you to know that each and every one of you “longtimers” are greatly appreciated. Some of you are frequent visitors — taking part in our programs, attending lectures and volunteering your help at annual festivals and other gatherings. Marion and John Hichwa are an example of active, enthusiastic members (since 1983, no less). Marion serves as Secretary for the Development Committee and can often be seen taking photos around the farm — recording special events, new arrivals to our animal kingdom and the wonderful ever-changing seasons at the farm. When the Hichwa grandchildren are in town they never miss a visit to the farm. There are other members, such as John Leighton, who haven’t visited the farm in a while but faithfully support their membership each year. John lives in NYC, was a dear theatre friend of Carmen Mathews’ and has fond memories of weekends at New Pond. John has been a member since 1981. Longtime active Reddingite, Joan Ensor, was also a good friend of Carmen’s and a member since 1983. When I recently spoke with Joan she commented that: “New Pond is one of the best things that ever happened to Redding. Carmen would be very proud and happy with how things have been kept going.” So many of you have not only maintained membership over the years but contributed generously to programs that hold a special interest for you. Pam and Ed Caraluzzi have been members since 1987. Pam became a friend of founder Sally Trippe and enjoyed many fun years of tennis on the farm’s court overlooking the pastures. During summer tennis Pam observed the activities and happy faces of the inner city children that were in residence for their ten day sessions. Pam said: “Contributing to the camp program was a natural for me, anything to help keep these children happy.”

our first ever Capital Campaign and told me: “I love the building. It came out beautifully. I know that Sally was pleased and am sure that Carmen would love it too.” Despite her many leadership positions for various Redding organizations and committees, Mary Anne Guitar has always found time for New Pond and has been a devoted member of the Board for many years: “I was pleased to be asked to be on the Board by both Carmen and Alvin Ruml," Mary Anne said. “It has been a long connection and a totally satisfying one.” She went on to say: “One of Carmen’s gifts was her ability to keep friends. You could see in her eyes the joy she found in the farm, and, as a result, her friends didn’t want to disappoint her — we were all happy to help.” Some of our longtime members have moved out of state, and even out of the country - but keep up their memberships as a way of keeping in touch and informed about the farm that they took pleasure in. I think that is something we all share: love of the farm and an interest in preserving it for future generations. In writing this I have touched on only a handful of our loyal “longtimers.” I plan to write about more of you in future newsletters and would love to hear from you...find out what drew you to New Pond and your thoughts on how the farm has evolved. In closing, I encourage all of our members to become longtimers. There are so many wonderful offerings at New Pond for you and your families to take part in. If nothing else, just come for a quiet walk, enjoy the beautiful setting, the sounds of nature and say hello to the animals. We would love to see more of you.

Capital Campaign Update Dear Friends: TOGETHER, WE DID IT!!! Just three short years ago – on July 14, 2004 – we held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Learning Center. We established a three-year Capital Campaign to build the new addition and bring the old building up to code, setting an initial goal to pay for construction, code compliance and landscaping. Thanks to the generosity of Sally Trippe whose initial gift of one million dollars kicked off the Campaign, we embarked on New Pond’s first-ever public drive for both endowment and capital expenses. We have raised most of the funds needed to close out the Capital Campaign this fall. With your help, we know we can finish the job. New Pond Farm never looked better, Carmen would be so pleased. We will be in touch with all of you over the next two months as we bring the Campaign to a successful conclusion at the end of September, then it will be time to stop for a moment to smell the roses! With regards, The Board of New Pond Foundation Sharon Coates, Mary Anne Guitar, Peg O’Donnell, Jill Kotch, Sam Crocker, Jim Demaree, Sue Dorenbosch and Jean Schroeder

— Sharon Coates, President

One of New Pond’s generous benefactors, Helen Hermes, has been part of the farm since its inception. She was a good friend of both of our founders, enjoyed tennis and traveling with both Carmen and Sally. Helen served for many years on the Farm’s Board of Directors and we are proud that she remains as our Director Emeritus. Helen took an active part in supporting

New Pond Farm • Redding, Connecticut


A Time to Grow, a Time to Change

The Space Between

By Sarah Morrison, former Chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee


eagerly anticipate each change of season which brings forth something new and its own special glories. As we are now moving into the bounties of full summer, I think about the seasons past and look forward to the beauties and surprises about to unfold. So it is with life, as we pass through one stage to another, it is a time to both reflect on the past and consider what is about to come.

As I leave New Pond Farm, it is with a blend of many different emotions. I certainly feel a sadness to leave my close friends and a place which is so special. But, I also feel such a sense of optimism and anticipation to see how the organization will develop in the years to come. There are exciting things

New Pond Farm has been a very important part of my life for more than 15 years and during the past 5 years, it has been a central focus of my life. I was named head of the Buildings and Grounds Committee in 2002 just as we were about to begin upgrading the infrastructure of the farm. During my tenure, we made substantial progress in completing much of the needed upgrade, added the Dairy Annex, improved the Dairy and Barnyard and renovated the early 1800’s farmhouse, in addition to planning and constructing the Indoor Learning Center. My husband is now close to retiring and we are planning to move away from the area. Although I shall continue to attend programs and always stay in touch with Ann, the Staff and Board Members, it will no longer be possible for me to continue my day to day responsibilities and I have retired from the Board of Directors and my position as Chairman of the Building Committee. Looking back, I can only say this has been the most exhilarating, challenging, exciting, and fun adventure! Personally, it has been rewarding beyond measure to have been able to help give New Pond Farm, a place I love dearly, a building to see it through to the next generation. It is thrilling to see the building being used and enjoyed in so many wonderful ways. As members, I hope you’ve been taking advantage of the unbelievable programs Kristen and Ann have developed to take advantages of the new building space! Over the past seven years, the Board of Directors has shepherded the farm through a major strategic initiative and developed a clear statement of the purpose, mission and vision for New Pond Farm. Ann Taylor and her extraordinary Staff are brilliantly bringing those strategic plans to fruition. Our members and others have opportunities to enjoy and reap the benefits of our outstanding programs which are unique and ever evolving. And, everyone who drives by this magical place can experience the calm, tranquil comfort and beauty of seeing contented animals, a well maintained farm and rolling hills, pastures and woodlands. To step out of your car and onto the land at New Pond Farm is like stepping onto an oasis in the middle of a hot, dry desert.


happening now (just read this newsletter!) and there will be challenges ahead. Whatever the situation, however, I know the Board and Staff will take those opportunities and challenges and make wonderful things happen! Plea to Members I would like to end my last piece for Down to Earth with a plea to all of you. Spend time with your families at the farm, take advantage of the programs, enjoy the land and volunteer ... help at the festivals or with teaching, or gardening or farming or funding or introduce others who will. If planning your estate, consider leaving a bequest to help sustain the treasure that Carmen Mathews left the Redding Community. New Pond Farm is at a major crossroads in its evolution. With the death of Sally Trippe in 2006, we lost the last of the original founders of New Pond Farm and with it, someone who had dedicated her life and her resources to the organization. The time and effort she invested in the farm needs to be picked up by others who can help keep New Pond Farm going and growing. I can absolutely promise, that any way you might help New Pond Farm, the rewards you will reap will be far greater than the seeds you sowed! ■

Down to Earth • Summer 2007

by Juan Ivaldi


he vastness of outer space boggles the mind. Based on common experience, our intuition is poorly equipped to help us gauge the enormous distances between the objects in our solar system and beyond. Many of us can easily estimate distances encountered in everyday life such as the approximate dimensions of a table, a room, or a car. However, at dimensions beyond the length of a football field, our ability to conceive of distance starts to break down. For example, the distances to the neighboring town, state, or country would likely be estimated with very large relative errors. At our astronomy programs at the New Pond Farm Observatory I sometimes ask participants how far away they think the moon is from the Earth. The responses vary widely. On average, the Moon lies about 240,000 miles away from Earth. This is already a large number considering our own planet Earth is about 8,000 miles wide at its diameter. Another familiar sky object, the Sun, is a staggering 93,000,000 (93 million) miles away. Interestingly, the Sun’s diameter is 400 times larger than the Moon and coincidentally is 400 times further away. The net visual result is that the Sun and the Moon appear to be the same size in the sky despite their huge geometrical differences. Our intuition is of little assistance in making accurate estimations here. Moving beyond to more distant objects, the numbers quickly exceed any realm of comprehension. At its closest, the distance from Earth to the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, is a whopping 365,000,000 (365 million) miles. Getting outside our solar system, the next nearest star, Proxima Centauri is 26,000,000,000,000 (26 trillion) miles away. Once the numbers get this ridiculously large it makes more sense to speak in terms of light-years. A light year is the distance light traverses in one year. One light year is about 6,000,000,000,000 (6 trillion) miles. So Proxima Centauri is a mere 4.4 light-years away. Feels closer already, doesn’t it? The enormity of our own Milky Way galaxy is astounding at 100,000 light-years in diameter. Even more challenging to consider is the distance to our nearest neighbor galaxy the Andromeda galaxy at 2,500,000 (2.5 million) light-years away. Even at this great distance, the Andromeda galaxy’s size and brightness is such that it is visible with the unaided eye on a clear, moonless night in winter at New Pond Farm. Using our new Celestron telescope at the observatory, we can peer into the heart of the Andromeda galaxy and wonder if there is anyone there pointing a telescope back toward us and wondering the same. ■

Two Grants Support New Astronomy Initiatives


Hi All, I can’t tell you what a thrill it was to setup our new CGE 1400 and have it up and running with “go to” working beautifully all in the same day. We decided to setup the tripod on the same slab where the 10” lives and attach the CGE mount and optical tube. This was a joint effort between Kristen, Thatcher, Ann, and I. Then after dark, Lars and I worked on getting the mount roughly polar aligned (Lars did a fine job here) and then we fired up the controller to check out the drive system. It worked beautifully. The motors are smooth, the user interface is easy to navigate and we did a quick sky tour to check out the optics and the “go to” function. I was stunned by the deep sky capability as well as the resolution on Jupiter. At 100X I could easily see the great red spot and subtle details in the bands I had never seen visually at the eyepiece before. On galaxies, I was picking much more subtle structure and detail than I have ever seen with the 10”. All of this with suboptimal skies (thin veil of clouds overhead much of the evening). I can’t wait for some better sky conditions! This scope has easily matched and exceeded my expectations. A big thanks to all who helped make it happen. It is going to be even more fun up on astronomy hill now! A great milestone for NPF and there will be more to come! Clear skies, Juan (Juan Ivaldi is one our of dedicated astronomy volunteers and was instrumental in the selection and purchase of the equipment.)

ast winter I had breakfast with our team of eight astronomy volunteers, which is always enjoyable because they are filled with enthusiasm and suggestions on how to make our astronomy facilities and programs even better. This year they had urgent requests. They could no longer find replacement parts for our aging 10” Meade telescope, and it was taking more “creativity” on their part just to keep it functional. This was distressing news indeed, not only because our NPF astronomy programs have been steadily building in popularity, but because we have just entered into an exciting partnership with Joel Barlow High School where the darkened pastures on the farm will become the field station for Barlow’s new Astronomy Program.

Hopefully by September we will have our remote internet hook up and the CCD camera will arrive, the latter will enable us to capture views of faint deep sky objects with great detail. The Barlow students will be able to send these images back to school for their projects and our volunteers will be able to share them during NPF programs.

Optimistically the astronomers had put together a wish list that included a beautiful 14” Celestron telescope, a laptop computer, a CCD camera and accessories that came close to $14,000, far more than New Pond’s modest operating budget could accommodate. Thankfully two wonderful local foundations came to our rescue, the Redding Education Foundation and the Meserve Memorial Fund. Together their generous grants covered the expenses—we are both thrilled and grateful! The scope arrived and the astronomy volunteers are in the process of fine tuning it. It seems to be everything they hoped for (see letter from Juan Ivaldi). Its larger 14” diameter means far greater light gathering capability and we will see more details on all celestial objects. We will also have the educational opportunity to see objects that are found deeper in the night sky — star clusters and galaxies that have never been seen in our programs. This new scope also has “go to” capability, meaning that when preprogrammed, it will automatically move to the desired coordinates in the sky — so for example, our astronomers can press a few buttons and the scope will swing from the rings of Saturn to the moons of Jupiter to the star nebula in Orion’s belt in just a matter of seconds. This capability will be useful when searching out fainter, deep sky objects.

Thatcher Taylor and Juan Ivaldi work on assembly (top left), Kristen Allore takes a turn (above). Ann Taylor with Kate Ebbott, President of the Redding Education Foundation and our beautiful, now assembled, 14” Celestron telescope (bottom photo).

As time goes on this 14” Celestron will allow us to expand into astrophotography, variable star observing and supernova hunting. Educational research could be performed by the volunteers and used while mentoring high school students. We send an enormous “Thank You” to both The Redding Education Foundation and the Meserve Memorial Fund — they have enabled us to take our astronomy programs to a new level! We look forward to sharing the new telescope with all of you! If you are interested in astronomy and would like to add your name our email list please contact [email protected]

Join us for the Perseid Meteor Showers


he expected peak of the 2007 Perseid meteor shower will occur on the evening of August 12, 2007. A Perseid meteor viewing program will be held on August 12 starting at 8:30PM at the New Pond Farm Observatory on Astronomy Hill. Please feel free to bring lawn chairs, binoculars, bug spray and warm clothes in the event of cool evening temperatures. Weather permitting, this year promises to be a good Perseid show since the Moon will be close to its new phase. This means that moonlight will not interfere with viewing of the dark sky and therefore more meteors will be visible. The expected rate of Perseid meteors near the peak of activity will be about one per minute.

Each year around the second week of August, the Earth plows through the orbiting debris of comet Swift-Tuttle. The tiny particles of comet material enter the Earth’s atmosphere at an amazing 132,000 mph. At this speed, the tiny comet grains disintegrate rapidly producing the bright streaks of light we see in the sky. The particles fully disintegrate high in the atmosphere and do not reach the surface of the earth. The meteors from Swift-Tuttle appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus which explains why they are called “Perseids.” Call 938-2117 for reservations. ■

New Pond Farm • Redding, Connecticut


Get Down to Earth!


e hope that you are taking advantage of these beautiful summer days and getting outdoors. At New Pond Farm, our mission is “Connecting people to the land that enriches and sustains us all.” Carmen Mathews, our founder, was dedicated to this idea over thirty years ago, bringing children from New York City to her farm to discover the wonders of farming and the beauty of the natural world. Today we feel our mission is more important than ever before. People are spending more time indoors, “online and plugged in”. We know that there are many consequences to losing touch with nature. We want to do everything we can to get people of all ages back outside.

By Kristen Gould, Program Director New Pond Farm’s main areas of focus are the natural sciences, agriculture, Native American heritage, astronomy and the arts. Our goal is to not only teach people what we know about these fascinating subjects, but to keep them coming back for more. The awe of the natural world can be discovered at any age; it’s not just for kids. Did you know that bald eagles have been sighted in Redding, that river otters have been seen frolicking in our streams, that bobcats and fishers have made their homes in our woodlands or that we have fourteen different species of snakes in this state? If not, you too need to get back “down to earth”, and we can help! Getting people outdoors is a movement that has recently been embraced by the environmental author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. He uses the current lack of exposure to the outdoors to gauge different health issues and learning disorders in our children. Copies are available at your local bookstore. We carried through with this theme during Redding’s Earth Day

Celebration, which NPF co-sponsored with the Redding Land Trust and the Town. Gina McCarthy, the Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection, was our keynote speaker at John Read Middle School. Gina has taken the issue to heart and has started several state-wide initiatives like No Child Left Inside to encourage families to explore our wonderful state parks. Gina’s inspiring presentation, geared towards families, was followed by a wide variety of outdoor hikes across the street in the Saugatuck Falls Natural Area. Each hike was lead by an expert in fields such as tree identification, birds, watersheds, amphibians and geology, just to name a few. Earth Day 2007 was a tremendous success, and as always we think of everyday as Earth Day here at New Pond Farm, so as members we invite you to enjoy the property over the summer and we look forward to seeing you in our programs as well! ■

John Read Middle School 6th Graders Head Outdoors!


ne very positive outcome of our Earth Day Celebration was an invitation from John Read Middle School’s 6th grade team of science teachers to help them design an outdoor experience for their students. Directly across from the school stands the town’s 312-acre Saugatuck Falls Natural Area. We were delighted to have the opportunity to share even a part of this diverse property with them The challenge was how to fit a worthwhile program into the middle school’s rotating schedule! For this first year we only had a little over an hour with each class so we set up three learning stations. Kristen hosted a popular Watershed Jeopardy station where the students tested their knowledge based on their spring curriculum and from the enthusiastic voices we heard coming through the woodlands the competitions were loads of fun; Dave Dembosky, the Conservation Manager from The Nature Conservancy, took the students on a hike along the river and talked about watersheds, wetland habitats and human impact; I had the joy of returning to my naturalist roots while joining the students on an exploratory hike through the open meadow. As expected it was filled with fascinating discoveries. There were small


patches of foam on the goldenrods, which children often thought it was “snake spit”! We gently probed the foam and found beautiful soft bodied, lime green spittle bugs who had whipped their secretions into a protective foam, and we talked about their different stages of metamorphosis on their way to becoming leaf hoppers. We also found fantastic fleshy galls with wasp larvae inside (6th graders love “GROSS” things), followed by dragonflies patrolling the meadow searching for mosquitoes, goldfinches and bluebirds calling from the edge of the meadow, and a red tailed hawk soaring on thermals overhead. The loosestrife and morning glories, fleabane and hawkweeds were all in bloom. Unfortunately, we also discovered patches of the dastardly invasive Black Swallowort that attracts monarch butterflies, only to have them lay eggs, whereupon the emerging larvae die after just a few daysthis was an interesting lesson. We had an action packed 20 minutes in the Meadow.

Down to Earth • Summer 2007

Even with the time crunch we had a terrific experience with the students. The day was a success and all four of the 6th grade teachers that were involved expressed a keen interest in expanding the program for next year. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of another educational partnership with the Redding Schools with a goal of promoting inspirational hands-on environmental education. ■

NPF’s Flora and Fauna Featured in First NPF Art Show - August 26th-31st

By Sue Dorenbosch ur annual golf outing, one of New Pond Farm’s major fund-raising events, is scheduled for September 11, 2007, and planning is in full swing. We are swinging for the “longest drive” this year to surpass last year’s intake. Capital Wealth Management and People’s Bank have already made an early commitment to serve as our major sponsors, and other business, such as the Redding Pilot, The Connecticut Group, Caraluzzi’s, Bertozzi Electric, Pembroke Pumping, New England Tree, Jim Pappas Investment Counsel, and Ridgefield Bank have also made major commitments. There are many remaining opportunities available that will help us in achieving our goal.



ver the past several weeks 50 local artists have been visiting the farm with their easels, paints and cameras as they prepare for our first Invitational Art Show. Yellow barns, grazing cows, wooly sheep are emerging on canvases before our very eyes. This show is being spearheaded by talented Redding artist, and longtime NPF member, Kris Holm. Last year Kris was invited to be our first Artist in Residence. Since then she has delighted us with her fantastic paintings including “Bonnie” one of our Romney ewes which hangs proudly above the fireplace in our Common Room. Kris’s love of the property, the farm animals, and her dedication to the education center have inspired her to share them with fellow artists. At this year’s Harvest Dinner on August 25th Kris will showcase a selection of the artists’ work. The full selection of the paintings, drawings, sculptures and

New Pond Farm’s 4th Annual Golf Outing

Kris and "Bonnie."

photographs will then be on display in the Learning Center during the week of August 27-31. Viewing hours will be between 1-5 p.m. each day, on Thursday the 30th hours will extend until 8 p.m. So please bring your friends and families for this special showing and sale, and please call to let us know when you will be coming. ■

It’s Not too Late to Become a Part of Our Spectacular Tile Wall Project!


antastic ceramic tiles, hand sculpted by Redding artist Marion Grebow, continue to arrive on the farm!

We are over two thirds of the way towards completing our orders. Please join the fun, come to the farm and select just the right tile to celebrate a family birthday, honor a friend or to show your support of the farm! There are loads of interesting local birds, mammals, and wildflowers just waiting for you! ■

New Pond Farm Tiles: The perfect, lasting, personalized gift for important people in your life!

There are different ways that you — our friends, businesses, and supporters — can help to make our fourth tournament a success: Invite your friends and team up (2-, 3- or 4some) to play golf* Single golfers are welcome (we’ll team you up with others)* Be a sponsor: Sponsor a Golf Cart Be a Tee sponsor Sponsor a “longest drive” hole Sponsor a “closest to the pin” hole Place an ad in our Journal Donate raffle prizes Donate silent auction items Buy raffle tickets Be a Gift Bag Sponsor by providing stuffers to our Goody Bags Volunteer your time Invite family and friends as dinner-only participants * Space is limited, so please sign up early to ensure your spot as a golfer!

Isabel and Filipe received their tiles as presents from their grandparents and NPF member Steve Soler very kindly purchased tiles for each of our inner city campers this year so that they could be a part of our tile wall and feel even more a part of New Pond Farm.

There’s a role for everyone, and even if you aren’t a golfer, you can participate in some way and in making this fun event successful for the Farm. For further information, please contact Sue Dorenbosch (203-938-0283) or Sharon Coates (203-938-0563), or email: [email protected]

New Pond Farm • Redding, Connecticut


Nature Conservancy Watershed Streamwalk Program Comes to the Farm


ack in May the Nature Conservancy held a training session using the Farm’s stream for volunteers participating in their Streamwalk Program. As a part of the project Kristen and I will be surveying the 3 miles of Blackman’s Brook, a portion of which flows on the western side of our pastures, recording information about the environmental conditions in one of the headwaters of the Saugatuck. Our volunteer letter states, “The Saugatuck River watershed extends over 57,000 acres and includes land in eleven towns, from Ridgefield, Danbury, Bethel and Newtown in the headwaters, to Westport at the river’s mouth. This is the 4th year the Nature Conservancy is conducting stream walks in the watershed. The Saugatuck River is one of Connecticut’s high-quality, short-stem, tidal rivers. The watershed is in good health, but threats to the quality of our water and the rich diversity of in-stream habitats and species do exist. Data collected in this survey will help direct the Nature Conservancy’s Saugatuck River Watershed Partnership’s conservation and protection effort in this area.” If you would like more information on this program please call Dave Dembosky 226-4991 x204 or if you would like to help us with our portion of the survey please let us know! ■


Join us to celebrate… the Third Annual Harvest Dinner!

By Lisa Bunce, Harvest Dinner Committee


ome on down! and join your Redding neighbors and celebrity guest Chef, author and restaurateur, Michel Nischan at the increasingly popular New Pond Farm Harvest Dinner. This is actually more than's an EXPERIENCE! One of the many highlights is the way Chef Nischan, during preparation, weaves magic into the evening by sharing his passion for the “locavore” movement (the idea of eating only locally grown foods).

And, while this is a wonderful opportunity to support the treasured gem of Redding: our own New Pond Farm, it's also the perfect opportunity to experience locavore. Dining outdoors in the beautiful vista and fresh air of New Pond Farm, you'll experience firsthand the amazing tastes that only farm fresh ingredients, prepared by a skilled artisan, can bring to the palette. All of the organic foods come from the New Pond Farm Shared Harvest Garden and surrounding Connecticut growers who practice sustainable farming. The growing movements of locavore and sustainable farming make sense environmentally and economically on so many levels. This fabulous evening will finish with a feast for the eyes: exciting farm-related artwork created by 50 of the area’s top artists will be on display. Any sales will benefit the farm. Don't delay! Mark your calendar for Saturday, August 25th, 4 p.m. and call the farm to register: 9382117. Seating is extremely limited and this event will fill up fast. $150 per person. ■


Down to Earth • Summer 2007

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR SATURDAY, AUGUST 25 AT 4PM. Cocktails will be served in the Learning Center followed by dinner in the pastures.


“Who Cooks For You?..............Who Cooks For You-All?”


his easily recognized call can often be heard echoing through our darkened wetlands and woodlands and now it can be more frequently heard at New Pond Farm. Meet our newest resident, Bernard the barred owl. Sadly, he had an encounter with a pickup truck and now has a permanently injured shoulder. Bernard has only been with us for a few weeks and we are doing our best to make him comfortable in his new surroundings. He has moved into the spacious flight cage that was built several years ago by Chris Ahlberg and his friends as an Eagle Scout project. Kristen, Dona and I have been taking turns feeding and visiting with him each day. When time permits we have been bringing our paperwork out to the enclosure — actually most of this newsletter was written with Bernard sitting just a few feet away. He seems to be getting quite used to us, he no longer fluffs out his feathers or claps his beak when we enter. Hopefully before too much longer he will allow us to get even closer, and maybe someday he will feel comfortable enough to join our programs. He will be a fascinating guest and will teach all of us about animal adaptations — he is a wonder to behold. Barred owls have a large facial disc with thousands of small, finely divided feathers that are designed to direct sounds to the uneven ear openings on the sides of their head. Their tremendous brown eyes are located on the front of their face giving them binocular, or threedimensional vision. Their fringed, soft-edged flight feathers give them the advantage of silent flight so they can surprise their prey, and their powerful razor-sharp talons and beak allow them to capture and eat all manner of creatures. Barred owls are opportunistic hunters, dining on everything from small skunks, opossums, and flying squirrels to meadow voles, frogs, fish and crickets. If you live near a woodlands, which includes wetlands, you may have barred owls as neighbors — each pair likes to have a territory that can range up to one square mile. By day they like to sit high in the trees, their light gray and brown barred feathers provide excellent camouflage. They are often seen flying from dusk to dawn but their presence is usually known by their distinctive and sometimes raucous calls. ■

Whoo.... Cooks For Bernard? Bernard is a healthy eater, downing three mice a night! This is putting our wildlife budget to the test. If you’d like to be one of the families to adopt Bernard and help us with his dinner tab — we’d be thrilled! We estimate that dinners will run $90 a month but all gifts are welcomed! We will be happy to send you his handsome photo in our “thank you” note.

This handsome image of Bernard, taken by Marion Hichwa, is stunningly beautiful in its natural detail. It reminds us of the lovely images that are available for the tile wall. See story on page 5.

Membership...the perfect gift for every occasion!

The majority of our operating budget is dependent on memberships, program revenues and private grants. We welcome your support! Please make your contribution payable to New Pond Foundation and send it to: New Pond Farm; Box 116; West Redding, CT 06896. To have a gift card mailed, please call the office! As members you will have the opportunity to: • Hike, cross country ski and explore on our spectacular private 102-acre property • Receive discounts on programs • Enjoy many Members-Only programs-like Junior Staff, Summer Camp, Pancake Breakfasts, Caroling with the Animals & evening amphibian programs • Receive seasonal Newsletter and calendars in advance so that you may be first to sign up for our classes • Participate in educational and unique birthday parties for your children • Enjoy an ongoing series of adult workshops and outdoor activities throughout the year • Discover the fascinating plant and animal communities of the Redding area in our hands-on classes • Support one of the last working farms in Fairfield County – celebrating our connection to the land and the origins of our food • Support environmental programs that plant the seeds of conservation, encouraging students of all ages to become responsible stewards of the land • Support a summer camp that brings together children from the inner city and children from surrounding areas in a personal atmosphere, fostering new understandings and friendships MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES: ❑ Individual Adult ❑ Family ❑ Supporting ❑ Sustaining

$30.00 $60.00 $100.00 $300.00

❑ Patron ❑ Sponsor ❑ Guardian

$500.00 $1,000.00 $5,000.00

Name(s) of family members:___________________________________________________ MAILING ADDRESS INFORMATION: Name:______________________________________________________________________ Street:_________________________________City, State, Zip________________________ Phone:_________________________________email:_______________________________ New Pond Farm is a nonprofit, public foundation. Memberships are tax deductible to the fullest extent provided by law.

New Pond Farm • Redding, Connecticut



The Scholarship Fund For Inner City Children Needs Your Help!


hat do running through open pastures, hiking through the woodlands exploring a marsh, helping with farm chores, making ice cream, learning to swim, harvesting and eating fresh vegetables, making new friends and feeling good about yourself have in common? These are just some of the benefits that our campers experience during their stay on the farm. Every year we must raise funds to bring three groups of inner city children to the farm on full scholarships. Each child will enjoy ten fun-filled days on the farm and they will take home joyous memories that will truly last a lifetime! The youngsters will come through agencies in Norwalk, Bridgeport and Danbury and in most cases their families are not be able to provide their children with a camp experience. If you would like to sponsor a child, or if you think your business might be willing to underwrite the stay of one or more campers please call Ann Taylor 938-2117. We estimate the cost of an individual campership to be $1,600 — but donations of any size will be gratefully received! ■

Our thanks to the following families, businesses and foundations: Jackie and Arthur Bahr Branchville Fresh Air Association Pam & Ed Caraluzzi Christ Church Parish, Missions Committee The Danbury Garden Club First Church of Christ, Congregational, Christian Outreach Committee The Gaspar Family The Georgetown Saloon* Goodrich Employees Helping Hand Fund Betsy & Wes Higgins Newman’s Own Foundation The News-Times Campership Fund Jamie & Bob Prusak Harold & Sue Trischman Rob Zohn & Business Aircraft Center, Inc. * The Georgetown Saloon just hosted an afternoon and evening of Folk, Bluegrass, Americana, and Instrumental music for the whole family. Not only was this a gathering of some of the areas best singer-songwriters and performers, but the day served as a way to share information about the farm and it turned out to be quite a fundraiser for our summer camp, raising close to $800 for the scholarship fund. Our thanks to the Saloon staff for thinking of us!