The Buzz Newsletter


   The “Buzz”

   Our latest news and happenings!

 Volunteer Voice 

Volunteerism is a cornerstone of how we operate at Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust.  We simply would not be where we are today without the hard work and dedication of our amazing volunteers!  Thank you to all who enable Flanders to be a destination for thousands of visitors who experience the beauty of art in nature, learn about the importance of protecting Western Connecticut’s unique eco-system and rural traditions, and participate in educational activities that introduce children, families, and adults to the wonders of the natural world.
In this issue of “The Buzz”, we honor Eileen Reed for her commitment to Flanders.  Eileen is a multi-talented volunteer who has led Flanders’ Farm-to-Table Dinner & Auction events for the past 2 years.  Eileen’s attention to detail, skill to motivate and train an army of volunteers, and ability to juggle a variety of activities has led to the creation of an event that sells itself…great food for a great cause!    

Eileen reflects on her connection with Flanders:   
After 25 years of having Flanders practically in my backyard, of walking its trails and admiring its beauty, it’s been wonderful for me to draw back the curtain and get to know the passionate heartbeats behind it all.  The best thing about my Farm-to-Table work has been in being a part of an amazing community of volunteers, all of whom care so much about Flanders.  I’m awe-struck on the evening of the event when it all magically comes together, and I look around and realize how many of those responsible are giving of their time and talents to make it happen.”   

Thanks to Eileen and her team for leading what has now become one of our signature events here at Flanders!


Would you like the opportunity to join us to help continue our legacy of preserving our vibrant community?

As a nature center and accredited land trust, Flanders offers a variety of opportunities to support our mission.  You may help with special event planning, maintaining hiking trails, working with children, providing office assistance, and much more!
Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities:
  • Wreath-making:   help families to collect greens, pine cones, etc. to make a beautiful wreath
  • Artisan Marketplace: assist with the displays and sales during weekend store hours (training will be provided)
  • 2018:  Maple Sugaring / Pancake Breakfast
  • Land Management:  Monitor a Land Trust Property
  • Or join one of our standing committees!
Please email us at to learn more.

 What A Summer At Flanders!

As the leaves start to change color and fall to the ground, we reflect on the events and experiences that made this summer truly one to remember here at Flanders!  Summers at Flanders are naturally action-packed and fun for all.  We kicked off the summer with our 3rd Annual Field and Forest 5k, continued to inspire and educate children through our Summer Camp programs, launched a new “Sails & Trails” program in partnership with the Quassapaug Sailing Center, and closed the season with our 2nd Annual Farm-to-Table & Auction event.  At the same time, land stewardship efforts were in full swing with the restoration of the Botany Pond and the creation of a “rock dock”.

Enjoy highlights from our summer below!


Field & Forest 5K

Over 400 walkers and runners participated in our 3rd annual Field & Forest 5k and raised nearly $30,000 to fund programs and support Flanders’ mission to acquire, preserve, and manage land and use the land to promote the understanding and appreciation of nature, art, and the environment.  Following the 5k through Flanders’ fields and forests and even through the barn with our surprised farm animals cheering them on, participants and their families enjoyed a community celebration including food trucks, craft beer, and music provided by Root Six (an amazing local band who donated their time and talents).
As always, thank you to our amazing volunteers who made this a very special experience for all! 

  Sails & Trails

Flanders and The Quassapaug Sailing Center partnered to launch an exciting new summer camp program, “Sails & Trails”, which combined the outdoor hiking experiences on the 686-acre Whittemore Sanctuary with learning to sail on Lake Quassapaug.  Approximately 35 campers from 4 states enjoyed adventures learning about nature, sailing, and having fun making new summer friends!

Farm to Table Dinner & Auction

The beautiful weather and gorgeous landscape of the Van Vleck Farm & Nature Sanctuary provided the perfect landscape for Flanders’ 2nd Annual Farm‐to‐Table Dinner & Auction on Sunday, August 27th! This popular extravaganza brought nearly 200 attendees from the community together for an unforgettable evening and raised over $50,000 to support Flanders mission of environmental education and land preservation. Coordinating chefs Dan Magill of Arethusa al tavolo in Bantam
and Carol Byer‐Alcorace of New Morning Market in Woodbury and chefs John Bourdeau of The Owl in New Preston, Dennis DeBellis of John’s Café in Woodbury, Chris Eddy of Winvian Farm in Morris, and Joel Viehland, formerly of Community Table in Washington and now Ore Hill & Swyft in Kent, James Arena ofArethusa al tavolo, Whitney Flood of 9 Main in New Preston, and Isaac Olivo of The Grace Mayflower in Washington Depot prepared an amazing feast sourced from many outstanding local farms. Prior to assembling under the tent for the main  inner and live auction, guests mingled with old friends, made new connections, bid on many silent auction items (most generously donated from local businesses), read our featured chefs and farms on display boards located throughout the venue, or just took time to sit and take in the lovely setting while listening to the celebrated bluegrass music of The Zolla Boys. During this first part of the evening, delicious hors d’oeuvres, wine served by Jim Frey from his own Walker Road Vineyard, beer from Black Hog Brewing Company and a signature drink from Litchfield Distillery all delighted guests.

Botany Pond Restoration

Every decade or so, the Botany Pond, created 50 years ago by Natalie Van Vleck and her friends in the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club (PVGC), needs to be dredged to restore the healthy ecosystem that Flanders treasures. The PVGC cares for it as the welcoming reward at the top of the Botany Trail, and students who visit Flanders enjoy exploring the pond and finding healthy pond‐life of all shapes and sizes! The Van Vleck Committee planned and executed the dredging project over the course of this year and as of the end of September, the project is complete, thanks to the helping hands of MANY volunteers! In addition to dredging the pond, a new “rock dock” will be enjoyed by visitors of
the Botany Pond.
While we cannot name everyone that engaged in this project, the following heroes deserve special recognition:

• Peter North manned the pumps to empty the pond of its water, while carefully monitoring the goldfish population, so we could remove them permanently from the pond.
• Tom Woodward, retired excavator operator extraordinaire, completed dredging the pond within one day. The results are dramatic, and Tom did an amazing job operating a huge piece of machinery and leaving the site in impeccable condition!
• Two invaluable volunteers assisted with the removal of the goldfish before the pond could be dredged. Steve Gephard of the Connecticut DEEP brought one crew to electro‐fish the pond and Tyler Cremeans, aquaculture teacher at Nonnewaug High School, brought his crew of students to take those goldfish to the high school to be used in their aquaculture projects and studies.
• Kyle Turoczi, Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery & Landcapes, consulted with us from the start on how to accomplish this task to protect the wetlands that surround the pond. Kyle planned the process, secured permits, and donated a huge amount of time and equipment to clear the road for the excavator, assisted with pumping the water out, and placed the silt fencing and silt bags to keep the goldfish from getting into the wetlands.

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