NFA Announces the Nettleton Memorial Orchard Project

20141027_161721 - CopyThe Newtown Forest Association will begin work shortly to enhance The Nettleton Preserve, one of Newtown’s most well known properties, located on Castle Hill Road and overlooking historic Main Street.

With generous funding from the Sandy Hook Memorial Tree Fund, the NFA will be embarking on a comprehensive stewardship program to manage the natural resources found there with the following goals in mind:
Reclaim the meadow, orchard and vista from overgrown invasive species and damaged forest by selected tree and brush removal.
1. Provide new trails and spaces for relaxation, which will connect with existing trails.
2. Plant new flowering fruit trees to complement the existing orchard along with native species.
3. Share this project with the community in every phase, involving local contractors and volunteers, such as scouts & students for education and community fellowship opportunities.
4. Build and install signage and informational kiosks.

The total scope of the project will involve the clearing of invasive plant species and selected trees along Castle Hill Road, leaving a partial canopy of native species in the lower meadow. All trees and debris will remain on site and be recycled. Chips will be shredded for paths and some brush piles for wildlife will be created. The existing fruit trees will be pruned to maximize their health and appearance. Additionally 26 new fruit trees will be planted to augment the existing orchard and serve as a living memorial to the Sandy Hool Elementary tragedy. Additional wildlife-friendly native shrubs will supplement the plantings already present. Upon completion of this project, the portion of the property along Castle Hill Road will be visually open, providing dramatic views into the Preserve from both the bottom of the Castel Hill Road and the top. The overall goal will be to provide multiple spaces for walking, relaxing and quiet contemplation.

The NFA envisions this project to be something that our entire community will be interested in. The overall health of the existing forest will be greatly enhanced. Many of the people of Newtown, especially children, will be able to better access and enjoy the Nettleton Preserve for many years to come. Work is expected to begin in early November 2014, with a planting and dedication ceremony in late spring of 2015.