By TRACI HASTINGS
Chronicle Staff Writer
HAMPTON â€” Trail Wood, the Edwin Way Teale Memorial Sanctuary, will be closed to the public this winter.
The society is closing the sanctuary temporarily to allow logging work to take place.
Trail Wood will close in mid-December and is expected to reopen in April.
The forest habitats have sustained some damage from gypsy moth infestations recently, resulting in weakened trees that pose a danger to both wildlife that resides at the property and visitors to it.
Several trees have fallen and others are expected to follow suit.
The logging is taking place over the winter months to limit the impact on birds, with many species having flown south during the cold season.
Trees that are obviously being used as homes for different species will be left intact where possible.
Some of the fallen trees will be left on the ground to create protective covers and nutrient enrichment for the ground.
Brush piles will be created later in the spring for other natural purposes.
Some bird species that use â€śsnagsâ€ť or fallen trees for nesting are the black-capped chickadee, the chestnut-sided warbler, the eastern bluebird, the northern flicker and the white-breasted nuthatch.
â€śOur primary concerns are the safety of our visitors and the ecological integrity of the property,â€ť said Sarah Hemingway, the director of the Connecticut Audubon chapter, in a statement on the Audubon Societyâ€™s website. â€śWeâ€™ll limit the work to parts of the preserve with suitable ground conditions. Weâ€™ll follow best management practices for protecting water quality and weâ€™ll maintain reasonable buffers surrounding sensitive sites.â€ť
Hemingway said the goal was to improve the sanctuary for all who use it.
The sanctuary, once the home of Teale and his wife, Nellie Donovan Teale, has been maintained by the Connecticut Audubon Society since the Teales bequeathed the property in 1980.
The Teales lived in the farmhouse on the site for more than 20 years and Edwin Teale also had a writing cabin on the property.
The Teales were dedicated naturalists, establishing a system of trails and wildlife habitats that still exist today on the 168-acre tract, which they named Trail Wood.
Teale, an award-winning writer, wrote â€śA Naturalist Buys An Old Farmâ€ť and â€śA Walk Through the Yearâ€ť about and at Trail Wood.
The Audubon Society holds many events throughout the year at the sanctuary, including guided hikes, bird-watching and an after-school nature club for children.
There is also an artist-in-residence program, allowing writers and artists the opportunity to stay at Tealeâ€™s cabin while letting nature inspire their work.
For more information, call the Audubon chapter at 860-928-4948.