Habitat Enhancement Projects at Deer Pond Farm
Songbird Habitat: Lady Bird Trail Plantings
Building on other wildlife habitat enhancement projects at Deer Pond Farm sanctuary, we have dedicated a half-acre area to supporting autumn migrating songbirds along the Lady Bird Trail. Invasive shrubs have been mechanically removed and replaced with a suite of native shrub species possessing autumn-ripening fruits that have complementary fat, carbohydrate, and energy contents to meet birds’ refueling needs during their autumn migration. In addition, we expanded an existing small patch of Eastern White Pine trees with plantings of Eastern Red Cedars to provide safe overnight cover for roosting birds in all seasons.
The following plants have been installed: nine Arrowwood Viburnums (Viburnum dentatum), six Silky Dogwoods (Swida amomum), six Red-Osier Dogwoods (Swida sericea), six Gray Dogwoods (Swida racemosa), and three Eastern Red Cedars (Juniperus virginiana).
The project site is easily accessible to sanctuary visitors and serves as a demonstration site for specific habitat enhancement techniques as well as a popular stop for birdwatchers and a point of interest during our guided hikes and nature walk programs. This area shows visitors how they can also enhance their backyard habitats.
This project has been made possible through a Connecticut Ornithological Association grant awarded in 2020.
Habitat enhancement in progress: overcoming insect damage and creating pockets full of 1000+ plants
In 2019, two grants were awarded to Deer Pond Farm to enhance birding habitat. The Hollis Declan Leverett Memorial Fund and the Robert F. Schumann Foundation provided funding for planting and purchase of meadow wildflowers, shrubs and small trees to increase diversity and abundance of birds and other wildlife.
The Connecticut Audubon Society developed a three-acre site within their Deer Pond Farm sanctuary in Sherman, thanks to a $10,000 matching grant from the Hollis Declan Leverett Memorial Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee. The new habitat replaces a grove of dead and dying white ash trees that succumbed to an invasive insect, the emerald ash borer.
The Hollis Declan Leverett Foundation funds also covered the development and installation of permanent interpretive signs. These highlight ecological attributes of the area, and educate visitors about how they also can improve habitat for birds and other wildlife.
The project location is at a spot where several trails converge, making it easily accessible to the preserve’s visitors and a top destination for hikers and birdwatchers. The habitat enhancement work builds on a pollinator garden and invasive plant species management in other sections of Deer Pond Farm.
“This project represents an amazing opportunity to attract desirable birdlife, return native vegetation to the site, and to engage our visitors,” said Cathy Hagadorn, Director of Deer Pond Farm. “We are honored to have Hollis Declan Leverett Memorial Fund as our partner to improve native bird habitats in western Connecticut.”
The Robert F. Schumann Foundation bolstered the project with a $13,000 matching grant. “The Schumann Foundation’s partnership is a true endorsement of our efforts to create a top birding destination in Connecticut,” said Cathy Hagadorn, Director of Deer Pond Farm. “By enhancing the habitat value for birds within the area, this project will provide improved food and shelter access for year-round birds, and increase abundance and diversity of overwintering and migratory bird species.”
Earth Tones Native Plants from Woodbury designed, installed and provided nearly 200 shrubs and trees, just over 850 perennial wildflower plugs representing a total of nearly 60 plant species.
Connecticut Audubon Society’s mission is to conserve Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and their habitats. Deer Pond Farm is our newest and largest sanctuary at 850 acres.
Hollis Declan Leverett Memorial Fund is named in honor of Hollis Declan Leverett, an avid birder, who died prematurely as a young adult. The foundation was created by his parents, Hollis M. and Helen E. Leverett, in his memory.
The Robert F. Schumann Foundation was established by Mr. Schumann out of his beliefs that the environment is essential to sustain the future of the planet,that education is essential to solve many quality of life issues for society, and that arts and cultural programs offer society hope and the ability to dream.
Click here for the Cathedral Pines Shrubs and Small Tree Plant List.
Click here for the Cathedral Pines Perennial Wildflower Plant List.
Click here for the News Times, October 18, 2019 article by Katrina Koerting, Sherman’s Deer Pond Farm turns destruction into new habitats.