Connecticut Audubon Society Readies for Trail Expansion

The trails of the Deer Pond Farm property afford marvelous

views and plenty of opportunities to spot birds.

Local bird lovers and nature enthusiasts can soon rejoice as The Connecticut Audubon Society prepares for the opening of Deer Pond Farm’s western trails on Saturday, June 8, in Sherman, CT. The wildlife sanctuary property, which straddles the border of Pawling and Sherman, will soon be more accessible to the public as the New York trails will offer an additional 447 acres with 10 miles of trails for guests to enjoy.

Divided almost equally into each state, the Deer Pond Farm Property encompasses 835 acres of forests, wetlands, and rolling meadows. The property was bequeathed to the Connecticut Audubon Society by the estate of Kathryn D. Wriston, with the property designated to be managed as a wildlife habitat. The property features nearly 20 miles of well maintained carriage trails, allowing for an easy walk that affords breathtaking views of both New York and Connecticut.

The area is well suited for bird watching, with roughly 100 species being observed on or near the property during peak breeding months. The property is also home to numerous species of plants, as well as mammals including deer, bobcat, beavers, and even the occasional black bear.

Originally, the Deer Pond Farm trails were only open to the public by private guided tour. In July off 2018, The Connecticut Audubon Society held a grand opening, making the trails on the Connecticut side of the property available to the public. On June 8, the New York trails will finally be open for the public to enjoy. “People will be able to explore the whole property,” explains Deer Pond Farm Director Cathy Hagadorn. “Then throughout the rest of the month, and each month throughout the year we’ll be offering various theme walks. We’re hoping to have a lot of different people here.” Upcoming programs will include guided bird walks, nature explorations, ecology hikes, and birding basics hikes. The event and visitor parking for all programs and hikers is at 57 Wakeman Hill Rd, Sherman CT. (The building is not yet open to the public.)

On June 8, Deer Pond invites the public to come out for the official opening of the New York trails, beginning with an early morning bird walk at 8:00 a.m. The day will also see a bird banding demonstration by Dr. Chad Seewagen of Great Hollow Nature Preserve, a falconry demonstration and Birds of Prey Show by Falconer Christine Peyreigne of Christine’s Critters, and an afternoon bird walk. There will be activity stations, exhibits, and demonstrations, as well as information tables from community partners including Friends of the Great Swamp, Great Hollow Nature Preserve, Naromi, New Milford Garden Club, and Protect our Pollinators. For youngsters, the day will also include shortened nature walks, a scavenger hunt, and craft activities. Lunch will be served during the event, and guests wishing to eat and attend the afternoon bird walk are required to register by visiting online.

The opening of the New York Trails on June 8 represents a large step forward for The Connecticut Audubon Society, as the expanded public areas will benefit everyone from the casual outdoor recreations to the most seasoned bird watcher. “Even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘bird nerd,’ you’re going to feel more connected to nature here,” says Cathy Hagadorn.