Community Connections

The cycle of the four seasons gives the woodlands of Connecticut its distinctive character. All animals and plants have adapted their way of life to cope with seasonal changes of heat, light, moisture and food. The yearly shedding of and regrowth of the forest's leaves is one of the most striking adaptations to the seasonal cycle and affects all other life in the woods.

In springtime, with the growth of plants, there is a resugence among the animals. Many small creatures emerge from hibernation to feed on new leaves and to become themselves the food of numerous predators.

In autumn, the leaves fall and form a layer over the soil and provide winter protection for the plant roots and hibernating animals beneath the ground. Finally, once the dead leaves have broken down, they give fertility to the soil and provide for future generations of plant and animal life.

Our local landscape has been and is being shaped by water. Long Island Sound and the network of waterways which drain into it are the legacy of the last Ice Age. The ice gouged channels into the rock. Water from the melting ice, falling rain, underground reservoirs and run off from the land filled these channels forming a network of waterways. The water in streams and rivers responds to gravity, ever seeking the lowest level, leading it down to the sea. These flowing waterways are among the nature's finest sculptors etching the landscape to suit their needs.

As the temparature changes with the seasons, water takes on different forms, in winter it may form solid ice, in summer it evaporates into the air as mist. It is the special properties of water that make it so livable. Even when it freezes life can usually suvive beneath the ice because solid water has the rare property of being less dense than liquid water, thus ice floats on the surface forming an insulating layer for the life beneath.