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Small Crew, Big Year- 2020 Youth Conservation Corps Summer Accomplishments

Thanks to the Connnecticut Community Foundation and donors like you, PRWC continued its Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) season for 2020. With the two Dr. Marc Taylor Interns, Naomi Robert and Dillon Larkin, and two high school crew members, Hannah Pryor and Selana Kurutan, this 2020 Youth Conservation Corps Crew season culminated in August with some impressive achievements.

In their short season, the crew tackled a variety of local conservation projects. Projects included water testing and monitoring detailed in the Watershed Based Plan to support future management measures; Riparian buffer tree planting, invasive removal, trash clean up, streamwalk assessments, stream crossing assessments, and installation of storm-drain markers.

Over the course of their eight week season, the four crew members:

  • Bonded over their collective fear of spiders and shared love of frogs.

  • Collected four rounds of bacteria, nitrate, and conductivity samples from 13 sites located throughout the watershed providing data on water quality to CT DEEP and the creation of an online interactive map with bacteria results.

  • Conducted 22 stream crossing assessments (bridges and culverts) in Woodbury following North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative protocols to evaluate suitability for aquatic life passage.

  • Completed 2.62 miles of stream walk surveys, assessing buffers, erosion, pollution,and log jams covering four different stream sections within the watershed including Three Rivers Park, Orton Pond, Transylvania Brook, and Southbury Dog Park.

  • Planted 48 trees and shrubs including sycamore, silver maple, silky dogwood, and viburnum at Three Rivers Field in Woodbury and Cedarland Park in Southbury to improve stream buffer and removed invasive plants to make room for the native species.

  • Removed half-ton of trash and scrap metal from the trails around and in Pomperaug River, Transylvania Brook, Transylvania Pond, and Nonnewaug Falls.

  • Installed more than 500 stormdrain markers along 22 road segments in Woodbury and Southbury and updated GIS map showing the completed roads.

  • Conducted thermal spot checks for stream temperature data loggers placed at 10 monitoring sites throughout the watershed.

In her personal reflection of the season, crew member Selana Kurutan said, “Before this experience, I would call nature an acquaintance of mine. It didn’t feel very close. After this experience, i would call nature a close friend.” She has already come back to volunteer with PRWC this fall and is eager to learn more in the natural resource and science fields.

Project partners including Houstatonic Valley Association, North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative, Town of Bethlehem, Town of Southbury, and the Town of Woodbury helped make this YCC season successful and this year's accomplishments possible.


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