Local Organizations and COVID-19: New Canaan Land Trust

For today’s Q&A with a local organization, we hear from Aaron Lefland, executive director of the New Canaan Land Trust. 

Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: The Land Trust closed and then reopened its walking trails. What has the feedback from trail-goers been since the reopening? Aaron Lefland: Our members and visitors were very understanding about the trail closures, and like us, were happy to see the trails re-opened after the brief closure. Since the health crisis began, we’ve seen a significant uptick in visitation to all of our properties, and are thrilled that so many people are exploring the special places that the Land Trust has worked to protect.

Ticked Off! Invasive Plants and Lyme Disease—A Surprising Connection

Of all the ways to protect ourselves against Lyme disease, planting “this” instead of “that” isn’t usually part of the conversation. And yet, knowing which plants attract disease-carrying ticks can make a difference. Japanese barberry, a non-native ornamental shrub that’s popular for its deer resistance, became established on New England’s post-agricultural lands in the early 1900s. It has invaded our forests, stifling native tree and wildflower regeneration and altering soil chemistry. Extensive research has revealed there is a link between Japanese barberry infestations and blacklegged (aka “deer”) ticks and the causal agent of Lyme disease with which they are infected.