Page 9 - Wallingford Magazine Issue 23, Summer 2019
P. 9

I-91 is mostly wooded.
So, in the mid-1800s, when most of the property was
converted to farmland, deforestation occurred. Beginning in 1905, farming began to decline and trees started to re-estab- lish. Now, many of those trees have reached the end of their natural lives. Some will continue to thrive for many years to come.
The micro-burst damaged some of the biodiversity. Tyler Mill Preserve has been known for its biodiversity of plants, animals, birds, and insects. Now invasive plant species are pushing in. The micro-burst damaged about 10 percent of the preserve.
The town updated the sign at the entrance to Tyler Mill Preserve, as follows: “The Woods Have Changed. Proceed With Care”.
The micro-burst hit Moss Rock (aka Morse Rock and Morris Rock), then moved east to the Green and Purple trails, then hit Tyler Mill Road and the Pink trail. Next it proceed- ed to the Cooke family’s CoAg farm on Northford Road and wiped out one of their huge barns.
I had a nice conversation with Peter Picone, the Wild- life Biologist with the Wildlife Division of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. Peter knows so much and wanted to share some of his frustra- tion with the typical reactions people have to natural events that do damage, such as our micro-burst and tornados in the Midwest. According to Peter, “Some lands are managed as
 Peter Picone explains the terrain.
  Paul J. Fusco / CT DEEP-Wildlife
if nature had influenced them in a natural manner, such as Tyler Mill Preserve. An interesting perspective is that when a tornado hits occupied areas in the mid-west, people from all over the country rise to help because the damage happened to developed property. On the other hand, when a tornado or a micro-burst hits a natural undeveloped but managed area, it is hardly noticed and barely newsworthy. Imagine if Tyler Mill was developed with families and businesses. The news would have been huge. Tyler Mill is an important piece of our environment. It is a great habitat and ecosystem. It helps the earth provide by offering a natural environment for plants, animals, birds, and insects. The damage done by a storm can actually sometimes lead to some benefits for certain species of animals (such as the New England Cottontail) and birds (such as the American Woodcock, Eastern Towhees, Chest- nut-sided Warblers, Prairie Warbler). It can also open up the growing areas for invasive species of plants to take hold. That said, it would be great if people would have a similar level of compassion when our managed natural preserves are dam- aged.”
So it is over a year since the micro-burst and not only has Tyler Mill Preserve re-opened but Sleeping Giant Park and Wharton Brook Park have been brought back to safe condi- tions for hiking, walking and enjoying all the pleasures of our natural environments. Anytime you are having a bad day, try taking a walk in the woods. Keep your phone off and enjoy nature! It can and will do so much for your spirit and energy.

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