Two weeks ago, 50 dedicated volunteers turned out to Long Wharf Nature Preserve in honor of Earth Day for a beach cleanup co-sponsored by Patagonia New Haven and Denali/Trailblazer. We spent two hours combing every inch of the preserve and picking up hundreds of pounds of trash that had accumulated in the preserve throughout the long winter. Volunteers were helping to prepare the preserve for New Haven’s 10th Annual Rock to Rock Earth Day Bike Ride, a beloved community celebration of all things environmental in the Elm City. On Saturday, April 28, hundreds of riders came through Long Wharf Preserve as part of the 12-mile route. A great team of New Haven Land Trust employees and volunteers were there to greet them with water and snacks on their way through the preserve! (This year, over 1300 community members participated in Rock to Rock, raising over $225,000 total for environmental organizations in New Haven.)
Long Wharf Nature Preserve has been a cherished site of environmental exploration, education, and community building since 1990. The preserve’s upland trail runs right along highway 95 and the property extends down the hillside through a tidal wetland to the waters of Long Island Sound. Because it contains multiple ecosystems (upland, salt marsh, and mud flat), these 15 acres make up a precious site for conservation of plants and marine wildlife, such as the native Prickly Pear cactus and the Great Egret. The trail at Long Wharf Preserve is a part of the East Coast Greenway, which connects 450 cities in 15 states, from Florida to Maine, along 3,000 miles of trail.
Long Wharf Preserve is the hub of all things marine for the Land Trust. Every summer, Schooner Summer Camp uses the preserve for coastal exploration activities. Campers get the opportunity to sail from the Sound School (which borders the preserve) across the New Haven Harbor to Lighthouse Point Park. Younger students spend their days digging for wildlife, learning about the Long Island Sound ecosystem, and imagining creative solutions to the ways urban pollution impacts the Sound’s waters. The Land Trust also hosts our famous Hunting for Horseshoes event in the preserve each June. For this event, researchers from Sacred Heart University’s Project Limulus teach participants how to catch, tag, and collect data from the horseshoe crabs that make their home in the shallow waters of Long Wharf Preserve.
Join us this summer for one of our many events happening at Long Wharf! Visit our website or our Facebook page to stay updated on Land Trust summer programming. Or check out http://www.newhavenlandtrust.org/preserves/long-wharf to find all manner of educational materials, such as an audio tour and various scavenger hunts in the preserve. Long Wharf Preserve is open to the public and we encourage all New Haveners to explore this special place!