Education

About MACS

The Milo Appley Conservation Showcase (MACS) is 83 acres of rolling pasture and forest located behind the University of Connecticut Windham County Extension Center at 139 Wolf Den Road in Brooklyn, CT. Acquired from Windham County by the (then) Windham County Soil & Water Conservation District in 1960 for $1, the parcel was named for Milo A. Appley, a former WCSWCD director. ECCD has a 10-year land management plan to maintain and conserve the parcel, utilizing the most current conservation practices to conduct grassland and forest management and habitat improvement.

Education

ECCD uses MACS to conduct conservation education to residents and environmental professionals in eastern Connecticut. ECCD has partnered with UConn Extension to conduct forestry management programs and The Last Green Valley to conduct workshops for water quality monitoring volunteers.  Most recently, ECCD partnered with the University of Connecticut Natural Resource Conservation Academy’s Conservation Training Partnership Program, which brings together high school students with a local partner to conduct a conservation project that will have community-wide benefits. ECCD and local high school students document birds that use the different habitats at MACS and developed an ESRI Story Map to display the results. Click here to explore the Birds of the Milo Appley Conservation Showcase Story Map. The project was featured In the UConn Today digital magazine https://today.uconn.edu/2020/09/uconn-program-joins-technology-nature-build-conservation-awareness/.  ECCD and UConn will continue to partner through the CTP program to conduct additional projects and add to the MACS Story Map.

Habitat Management

ECCD actively manages the land at MACS.  In 2016, ECCD staff eradicated the invasive shrub autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) from one of our fields. Hay from our four hayfields is harvested by a local farmer. In 2017, all 15.5 acres of hayfield were seeded with red clover to enhance the forage quality of the hay. In 2020, ECCD  partnered with UConn Extension Master Gardener candidates to create pollinator habitat. The Master Gardener candidates cleared invasive plants, planted pollinator plants, and established a Monarch Watch waystation. In 2021, we will be planting additional pollinator plants and conducting additional invasive plant management.

Outdoor Recreation

MACS features several miles of walking/hiking trails that are open to the public.  We recently installed a letterbox series highlighting the different wildlife habitats found at MACS. This self-guided activity is perfect for families. Download the letterbox series description here.  ECCD is in the process of developing a trailhead kiosk, and installing wayfinding and informational signage. You can download our current trail map by clicking here. The trails are open from dawn to dusk. We ask that you carry out whatever you bring in, and if you hike with your canine companion to please pick up after him or her.

ECCD is core member of the Thames River Basin Partnership (TRBP), an organization created in Partnership with The Last Green Valley. Each year TRBP hosts a workshop that features an on-water component. Follow the link to access Floating Workshops conducted over the years.

Septic System Care and Maintenance Workshop

Well Water Testing and Maintenance Workshop for Homeowners

Sept. 2, 2020:  Feeding Green Waters – exploring the link between our actions and water quality in Little Narragansett Bay and Wequetequock Cove. View this webinar by Jamie Vaudrey (UConn) on the Eastern CT Conservation District Youtube channel at: https://youtu.be/umx1h0dhCSY

Sept. 9, 2020: What are Riparian Buffers and why can they make a difference?  View this webinar by Juliana Barrett (CT Sea Grant) on the Eastern CT Conservation District Youtube channel at: https://youtu.be/_oc4KnUkeL0

Sept. 16, 2020:  Healthy Shellfish – how land use-based decisions affect natural shellfish beds and aquacultureView this webinar by Tessa Getchis (CT Sea Grant) on the Eastern CT Conservation District Youtube channel at: https://youtu.be/mz9JER3S5SA

Sept. 23, 2020: Maintenance Practices for your Septic SystemView this webinar by Jeff Polhemus of Skip’s Wastewater Systems on the Eastern CT Conservation District Youtube channel at: https://youtu.be/2IeRKYTp-po.

Sept. 30, 2020: Gardening for Good – Healthy yards for healthy waters – residential lawn and garden practices that protect water quality. View this webinar by Judy Preston (LISS & CT Sea Grant) on the Eastern CT Conservation District Youtube channel at: https://youtu.be/qmoWMfSXCk4.

If you are interesting in our upcoming workshops or our calendar of events or have further questions please call us.

The Connecticut Envirothon is a natural resource based education program started in 1992 by the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts. This high school level program promotes environmental awareness, knowledge, and stewardship through education and team competition.

Throughout the year Envirothon teams work with a teacher/advisor on curriculum materials in the study areas of Soils, Aquatics, Wildlife, Forestry and Current Environmental Issues.

 

Then in May, teams meet for a day-long, fun filled field competition. Teams work together on practical, environmental problem-solving and hands-on challenges. In addition, each team prepares a short oral presentation on a real life environmental problem and presents it to a panel of experts.

 

The winning Envirothon team earns the chance to represent our state at the annual North American Envirothon, a weeklong summertime event. The Connecticut team competes for scholarships and other prizes against about 60 other teams from the USA and Canada.

Visit the Connecticut Envirothon website (Exit ECCD) to learn about how to “Take the Natural Challenge.”

Currently, the Connecticut Envirothon is seeking sponsors for this great program.  If you can help out, contact Barb at North Central Conservation District at 860-875-3881.

ECCD provides the following resources as a courtesy to the people of Connecticut and beyond. If you have any suggestions for adding resources to our website, please email Dan.Mullins@comcast.net. Please feel free to download, print and distribute any educational resources ECCD has made available.

Informational Brochures

Dumpster Etiquette Brochure

Pet Waste Brochure

Landscaping for Water Quality Brochure

Rain Garden Brochure

Small Farm Manure Storage Solutions Brochure

Tree Filter Brochure

Septic System File Folder – valuable for homeowners to document the location of their septic system and to keep track of its maintenance. The file folder also includes important information about taking care of your septic system and leach field.