By SHERIDAN CYR
The Open Space Committee will celebrate Earth Day by inviting the public to join committee members, the Southington Land Trust, and some furry friends from Bradley Mountain Farm for a hike and trail cleanup at Novick’s Orchard, an open space parcel on Flanders Road that was acquired in 2006.
The orchard is an 80-acre parcel of land featuring a trail system as well as Patton Brook and a former orchard. The large tract of land offers a diverse habitat and connects to the Griffin Open Space parcel. On Sunday, April 22 at 1 p.m., Bradley Mountain Farm goats will lead residents through the newly-blazed trail as they munch on the brush.
“As chair of the Open Space Committee, I spoke with members in terms of our goals and objectives over the next two years,” said Town Councilor Dawn Miceli (D). “One of the ideas was to partner with different groups in town to raise awareness about our Open Space program.”
Miceli said Earth Day seemed like the perfect opportunity to put this goal to action.
“We are very excited to partner with an active farm and do something worthwhile, while educating the public about one of our many parcels,” Miceli said.
Bradley Mountain Farm owner, Anneliese Dadras, told Miceli she would bring “her biggest eaters,” to help clean up the trail. Rosie has a reputation for just that.
“Rosie is an awesome eater, and she is a great one for brush clearing,” Dadras said. “Goats are very helpful to the environment because they leave no harm wherever they go.”
The Bradley Mountain Farm goat mobile will be on hand for the event along with several goats to accompany hikers along the trail.
“We really hope that the general public will stop by and learn about this parcel of land,” Miceli said. “The town owns it, and you as a taxpayer own it. It’s a real, positive event for the community.”
Bradley Mountain Farms also hope to get involved and engage the community in their many offerings. They host farm parties and weddings, soap making workshops, goat therapy, goat hikes and walks, and other fun and interactive events at the 200-year-old dairy farm.
The farmhouse was built by Ichabod Bradley in 1813 and has since been restored.
In addition, owner Dadras reportedly hopes to spread the word that Bradley Mountain Farm goats are available for rent to clean up poison ivy from yards. Goats enjoy eating the plant, and it causes no harm to their systems.
According to the Open Space website, Novick’s Orchard was historically uncultivated open space with a portion of the site possibly occupied by the Connecticut Advent Christian Camp-Meeting Association, which was established in 1869. It is also possible that the property was part of the Grooman family’s 30-acre farm parcel.
Parking for the Earth Day event will be available on Flanders Road. Those who wish to help with trail cleanup are asked to bring loppers and hedge clippers.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.