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.
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.
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.
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.