‘It Looks So Wonderful’: High Praise for First-Phase Work Done in Bristow Bird Sanctuary

The completed first phase in restoring a long-neglected and little-known bird sanctuary in New Canaan—one of the nation’s oldest—is earning high praise from town officials and visitors. Described as a quiet and beautiful wooded area, the Bristow Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve—thanks to volunteers and Department of Public Works personnel—features attractive new footbridges over meandering streams, a newly dredged pond, seating areas and varied bird feeders, officials said during last week’s meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission. Responding to a presentation from Public Works Director Tiger Mann on the work that’s been done in Bristow in the past six months, Commissioner Francesca Segalas said, “It looks so wonderful.”

“I am so happy to see this,” she said during the meeting, held Jan. 13 via videoconference. 

Mann shared a photo walkthrough that he’d captured the same morning, starting at the northern end of the 17-acre bird sanctuary—accessible through Mead Park, at the back of the little league baseball fields—and following pedestrian trails toward its other entrance along Route 106. As he walked along, Mann said he found the park “very quiet.”

“I didn’t hear anything,” he said.

Commission Rejects ‘Pollinator Garden’ at Mead Park

The Parks & Recreation Commission on Wednesday night denied a request from local volunteers seeking permission to install pollinating plants on a traffic island at Mead Park. The “pollinator garden,” proposed for the traffic island near the little fields and entrance to the Mead Park Playground, was designed as part of a larger “pathway” serving butterflies, birds, bees and other insects and animals that move pollen from one plant to another. Several New Canaan organizations have been at work for more than one year to increase pollinator-friendly habitat here. Yet members of the appointed Parks & Rec Commission said they feared planting pollinator-friendly species at the traffic island would bring additional bee stings and motor vehicle traffic to a largely pedestrian area. 

“That’s just such a busy place in terms of automobile traffic,” Commissioner Hank Green said at the meeting, held via videoconference. “A lot of big SUVs, a lot of these cars are being driven by teens.

Test Results Show ‘Slightly Elevated’ E. Coli Levels in Parts of New Canaan Waterways

A half-dozen bacteria data collection sites in three New Canaan rivers turned up slightly elevated levels of E. coli following tests that commenced this spring, officials said last week. 

The results could indicate nitrogen in the water supply, according to members of the New Canaan Conservation Commission. 

“I am not looking at these streams and rivers as drinking water supply, but I am looking at them from a wildlife and biodiversity standpoint and I am trying to get a better feel on, are they getting too much nitrogen in the water?” Commission Chair Chris Schipper said during the appointed body’s Aug. 13 meeting, held via videoconference. “I assume E. coli is also related to nitrogen. And are there other chemicals getting into the water supply?”

The Commission referred to data collection and water quality tests from Harbor Watch, part of Westport-based nonprofit organization Earthplace. The group presented to the Commission last spring. The town approved a total of $25,000 for the professional services in the Commission’s budget for the current fiscal year.