General Information at Deer Pond Farm
Deer Pond Farm Welcomes Jim Arrigoni, conservation biologist for The Connecticut Audubon Society
It is our pleasure to announce that Jim Arrigoni, conservation biologist, began his new role with Connecticut Audubon Society on Friday June 1. Jim will primarily be in charge of land management at Deer Pond Farm and assisting with management projects on other western CAS sanctuaries. He will also continue to lead educational and outreach environmental conservation programs throughout the state.
Over the past 20 years, Jim has worked as a field biologist throughout the northeast and western United States, as well as in Belize and China. Although his greatest expertise is with amphibians and reptiles, he also has extensive experience with invertebrates, trout and salmon, and, of course, birds. He has taught courses in conservation biology, aquatic ecology and herpetology at SUNY Syracuse and Goodwin College in East Hartford.
Beyond natural history and ecology, Jim is especially interested in understanding how people interact with and influence nature and wildlife, both historically and in the present day. He aspires to apply perspectives gained from his education and travels to finding solutions for the harmonious co-existence of people and nature in his home state of Connecticut. Toward this end, he views habitat restoration/management and public education as equally important endeavors.
Jim has a BS degree in wildlife biology from the University of Vermont and a MS degree in conservation biology from the State University of New York in Syracuse. He is currently working toward a PhD degree in conservation biology from SUNY Syracuse with dissertation research focused on the value of constructed wetlands for conserving biological diversity. In his free time he enjoys hiking, canoeing, gardening and cooking.
Wood Duck Nesting Boxes Installed
Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation at The Connecticut Audubon Society, installed the first of four Wood Duck nesting boxes at Deer Pond Farm on February 28, 2018.
Once at risk of extinction, Wood Ducks – with help of nesting boxes and the benefits of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 – have increased in populations. Unable to make their own nesting holes, Wood Ducks use these boxes for nesting sites.
With nesting season beginning in March, we are excited to see two pairs already on the pond and are hoping one of the pairs will make a home in the recently installed box.
Deer Pond Farm covers 835 acres of rugged hardwood forest, meadows, and wetlands straddling the state border of Connecticut and New York.
Connecticut Audubon Society acquired the property in 2017 thanks to a generous bequest from the estate of Kathryn M. Wriston. Deer Pond Farm gives Connecticut Audubon a major new location in the western part of the state, to go along with its centers in Fairfield, Milford, Glastonbury, Pomfret, and Old Lyme. The bequest also includes an endowment to manage the property and conserve it as wildlife habitat.
The landsits in the highlands along the Connecticut-New York border. About 620 of its 835 acres are upland forest; 125 acres are forested wetlands, and 59 acres are meadow. About 100 species of birds have been reported on or near the property during breeding season, including forest birds such as Broad-winged Hawk and Scarlet Tanager, marsh birds such as Virginia Rail, and birds such as American Woodcock, Eastern Towhee, and Chestnut-sided Warbler, which nest in young forests or shrubby areas.
Mammals include bobcat, several bat species, fisher and long-tailed weasel, beaver and black bear. As many as 11 species of snake possibly live on the property.
Numerous reptiles and amphibians breed in its 11 vernal pools. The Deer Pond Farm list includes spotted salamanders, slimy salamanders, dusky salamanders, and wood frogs.
Deer Pond Farm includes a network of 20 miles of trails. In April, Connecticut Audubon received permission from the town of Sherman Planning & Zoning Commission to allow recreational public access to the trails. Although long-term plans are still being formulated, in the short-term Connecticut Audubon will be scheduling guided walks, by reservation.
Deer Pond Farm is not open for visits by the public unaccompanied by Connecticut Audubon staff, so reservations are essential.
The property includes a house on Wakeman Hill Road, Sherman, that will be used as Deer Pond Farm’s office. Cathy Hagadorn, who until recently served as director of Connecticut Audubon’s Coastal Center at Milford Point, will now serve as director at Deer Pond Farm.