Litchfield News



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Historical society told hold pet parade on July 4
Calling all pets! The Litchfield Historical Society will hold its annual Pet Parade and Turn of the Century Fest on July 4. Community members and their pets are invited to take part in an old- fashioned pet parade! Pets of any kind are welcome, but all pets must be either on leash or in a cage and up-to-date with immunizations. Parade registration begins at 2:15 p.m. After the parade, there will be sack races, tug-of-war contests, and an ice cream social. The event is free.
 Local students restore bluebird box trail at Topsmead
The Friends of Topsmead State Forest in Litchfield is partnering with area schools to reestablish the bluebird box trail that runs through the state forest. The project is funded by the Friends of Topsmead State Forest and private donations.
The Friends of Topsmead State Forest is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, protect, and enhance the experience of Topsmead State Forest. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in August 2017, the Friends have already made a positive impact on Topsmead by initiating several projects. Along with the bluebird box trail project, restoration of the butterfly garden has begun and plans are in place to create a temporary welcome center in the carriage shed. The organization held its first Field Work Party on April 27 to prepare Topsmead for the growing season.
Janet Blauvelt, a Friends board member and chairperson of the education committee, leads the bluebird box trail project. She, along with Larry Short, a special education teacher at Charter Explorations School in Winsted, have been working with students from various local schools on different aspects of the project. Eight students from Explorations Charter School in Winsted, one student from Wamogo Regional High School and one student from Torrington Middle School are participating.
Their responsibilities are to inspect nesting boxes and record data on the bluebirds' and other birds' usage of the boxes; determine cleanliness of boxes; and report results to the Connecticut Bluebird Next Box Survey and Peter Piccone, a wildlife biologist at Sessions Woods in Burlington. Students are also responsible for building new boxes and repairing old ones. In addition, the Friends will add ten to fifteen new nesting boxes which will be built by Ms. Blauvelt and her husband, John Blauvelt, who is the Grounds Chairperson on the board of the Friends. The boxes will be built to specifications created by Art Gingert and Peter Piccone who designed the original bluebird trail at Topsmead.
This project owes a big debt of gratitude to Jane Golding, a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection employee who works at Topsmead, as she has played a critical role in initiating the new bluebird box trail. 
Students began checking the nesting boxes during the first week in March. Since then, they have spotted bluebirds starting to nest in several different boxes. Currently, there are five pairs of bluebirds nesting in boxes. On April 30, project participants were delighted to find one nesting box with four bluebird eggs in it. Recording nesting and egg status are vital to monitoring how the bluebird population is fairing at Topsmead State Forest. 
According to Ms. Blauvelt, "I wish to create educational programs in collaboration with local schools and community organizations to make Topsmead State Forest an outdoor extension of the classroom. My hope is to provide students and the public hands-on experience with nature and to grow to love the outdoors and the creatures that inhabit it."
Ms. Blauvelt seeks the public's assistance in providing program ideas to the board of the Friends of Topsmead State Forest via the group's email address: Email subject line should read: "Educational Program Ideas." 
A historic Open House Tour on July 12 and 13, 2019 is being planned by The Litchfield Aid of the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) in celebration of the Town of Litchfield’s tercentennial.  The Aid’s Sixty-Seventh Open House Day will be a rain or shine, one-mile walking tour within the Borough of Litchfield, a National Historic Landmark District.  The Tour will benefit the Connecticut Junior Republic, a Litchfield-based nonprofit organization that helps children, youth and families in 12 locations across Connecticut.  Click for details.