Fall Natural Lawn Care Workshops! Simsbury

Fall is a perfect time to prep your lawn for next year’s success.  Temperatures are great for grass seed germination and shorter daylight hours keep your kids off the grass while you begin your fall lawn care.

Are you still unsure of what to do?  Want to learn more on how to manage your lawn without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides (which are really not necessary for growing turf)??   Join us at one of our fall workshops:

September 21 at the Simsbury Public Library, 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

September 28 at the Canton Public Library, 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

October 12 at the Beardsley Library, Winsted, 6:30-8:00 pm.

We will cover seeding, aeration, common lawn weeds, grub and other pests and more.  Go home from this workshop with concrete ideas on how to improve your lawn without using harmful chemicals.


Discovering Native American History on the Farmington River With Dr. Kenneth Feder – Monday 9/25/17

Co-sponsored by FRWA and the Lower Farmington/Salmon Brook Wild & Scenic Study Committee
7:00 PM |Simsbury Library Community Room

“Kenny” Feder is professor of archaeology at Central Connecticut State University, author of several books on archaeology, and founder and director of the Farmington River Archaeological Project, a study of the prehistory of the Farmington River region in northwest CT.

Kenny’s also an excellent raconteur and storyteller!  He will take us on a virtual trip down the Farmington to reveal the river’s fascinating Native American history.  Stops will include his research sites at the Barkhamsted Lighthouse (featured in his book Village of Outcasts), the Tunxis village in Farmington, and Alsop Meadow in Avon.

He will also talk about his new book, Ancient America: Fifty Archaeological Sites to See For Yourself, published in 2017.

Registration is not required but is much appreciated for planning.  To register, please contact FRWA at (860) 658-4442 x205, or email: dmcwhirter@frwa.org

Volunteers Needed! Join our Annual River Clean-Up September 23, 10am to 1pm

Last year, over 200 volunteers joined together to remove trash from the banks of the Farmington River.  We are  securing all the supplies for the big day (gloves, bags, napkins, apples, apple cider, etc) and lining up coffee and lunch for volunteers including sandwiches from Antonio’s, coffee from Starbucks and Pizza from Little City Pizza.  We are on the lookout for pick-up trucks or other large vehicles that can help us get trash to the dumpsters donated by Waste Material Trucking Company of Unionville, CT.

So where will you be?  We do need lots of volunteers! If you are part of another group that might be interested, please let us know.  Join us to meet your watershed neighbors and help us keep your neighborhood clean; it’s guaranteed you will make new friends.  Please call FRWA at (860) 658-4442 or email apetras@frwa.org to register.

A Sample of our Clean-Up Meet-up Locations – September 23, 10am to 1pm

Avon: The Lions Club of Avon takes responsibility for cleaning Fisher Meadows and they do a great job, year after year.

Bloomfield:  The Wintonbury Land Trust is coordinating this location.  Meet at Farmington River Park. Clean up from 10-noon.

Barkhamsted: Location TBD

Collinsville: We will meet at Collinsville Canoe & Kayak and will have a tent and snacks available.  This is our most popular site thanks to area residents!

Simsbury:  Meet on the front lawn of FRWA headquarters. This is our main spot and also the place to grab some coffee before heading out or get some pizza and other lunch items after you are done.

Windsor: Meet at Windsor Town Hall (please register for specifics) to clean popular Windsor Locations such as The Boat Launch at the reservoir and Pleasant Street Park.

Call FRWA to sign-up yourself, your family, or your group for the Clean-Up at (860) 658-4442 or email your registration with a preferred meet-up location to apetras@frwa.org.  And see you there!


Saville Dam and Old Barkhamsted Hollow Bus Tour and Short Hike

Saville Dam and Old Barkhamsted Hollow Bus tour and short hike

Saturday October 28th 2017 – 10 am to 3 pm

Cost: $20 per FRWA member; $25 Non-member (prepayment guarantees space)

Join us for a tour deep inside the bowels of the Saville Dam followed by a trek to some of the old Barkhamsted foundations spared inundation as the Barkhamsted Reservoir filled. We complete our tour with a visit to the relocated and renovated old Barkhamsted Center schoolhouse. The history and preservation of our watershed is interwoven with the story of the Metropolitan District and the pursuit of clean drinking water for Greater Hartford.

The operator of the Saville Dam will guide us through the works of the earthen embankment impoundment that backs up the 30 billion gallon Barkhamsted reservoir providing drinking water for Greater Hartford. After touring the dam, we venture onto the reservoir lands where the MDC forester will explain, over our lunch, how the MDC manages forest diversity for water quality.

Then Barkhamsted Historian, Erik Landgraf will tour us around the relics of old Barkhamsted Hollow, a village mostly flooded by the creation of the Barkhamsted Reservoir in 1940. Structures that were not flooded were torn down or moved by the water company, but not without a trace. Mr. Landgraf will bring the old town roaring back to life as he regales us with vignettes of life in the village, as past and present eerily meet. Then it’s hands on in the old Barkhamsted Center schoolhouse; we’ll see what you remember of your school days.

Trace history in your watershed!

Pre-registration is required, space is limited, contact FRWA at (860) 658-4442, or email: river@frwa.org to register; Tour begins at 10:00 am, dress for the weather, wear footwear to walk in the woods, pack a lunch and water.



FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop

FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop (Part 1, indoors)
Thursday, September 28th, 2017
, 7 to 9 P.M.
FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury

FRWA Aquatic Insect (RBV) Sampling (Part 2, outdoors, in-stream)
Saturday, September 30th
2017, 9 A.M. to noon (Sampling location TBD)

Volunteers are needed to help sample for aquatic insects as indicators of water quality. Explore the fascinating life of local streams throughout the Farmington River Watershed and help us identify our high quality waters.

FRWA will hold our Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling (RBV) Workshop on Thursday September 28th at FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury.  The indoor- portion of the workshop on Thursday evening will provide an overview of the RBV (Rapid Biomonitoring for Volunteers) program, demonstrate collection and identification techniques and explain the use of aquatic organisms in water quality monitoring.

Following the indoor training, participants will be able to participate in the FRWA in-stream Aquatic Insect sampling to be held on Saturday September 30th and/or join up with other experienced samplers to monitor streams during the fall, throughout the Farmington River Watershed.

For the in-stream sampling, participants wade into the water, collect organisms into a net, sort and identify and preserve a representative sample for verification. The program follows CT DEEP Riffle Bioassessment by Volunteers (RBV) protocol and results help FRWA and the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection identify high quality streams and monitor water quality changes in the Farmington River Watershed.

No previous experience necessary, new volunteers are paired with experienced team leaders for sampling and older children are welcome with an adult. Outdoor sampling will be held rain or shine; please dress for the weather and bring footwear to wade into the water (waders, water shoes or old sneakers). Space is limited, advance registration is required. Please contact FRWA at 860-658-4442 or email river@frwa.org to register.

Stream Bugs & Pond Critters – September 24, 10-noon

Discover the fascinating underwater life of our watershed with FRWA Water Quality Monitoring as we explore Walton Pond and Poplar Swamp Brook at beautiful Winding Trails in Farmington. Spend the morning pond-side and wading in the brook to observe, identify, and marvel at the life histories and ecology of insects and other creatures that inhabit still and flowing waters. Learn how and why we use aquatic insects in our watershed-wide water quality monitoring.

We will provide nets, buckets and expertise; you need only bring your curious mind. We meet at Nature’s Porch which is Winding Trails’ beautiful certified Connecticut grown building. We will go outdoors rain or shine. Please dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear to wade into shallow water (water shoes, old sneakers, or waders.) This program is open to all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required by 3 days prior to the event; please reregister through the Winding Trails website:  https://www.windingtrails.org/register/?id=740

Date: Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Time: 10:00 am to noon

Ages: All ages

Where: Nature’s Porch, Winding Trails, 50 Winding Trails Drive, Farmington, CT

Fee: Free but must preregister

My Healthy Stream

FREE handbook! Do you own streamside property within the Farmington River Watershed? Eager to learn more? Contact us to receive a FREE copy of My Healthy Stream – A Handbook for Streamside Owners!

A publication of Trout Unlimited and the Aldo Leopard Foundation.

Funding for FRWA’s River Smart outreach program is provided in part from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.


To receive your copy, contact:
Laura Hart
Project Manager of River Smart
860-658-4442 ex 203 lhart@frwa.org

Farmington River Archeology Canoe Trip – Saturday July 22, 2017

Paddle along our own ancient Native American canoe trail as we explore the fascinating culture of the people who inhabited the Farmington River Valley thousands of years ago. Learn about the latest archeological discoveries from Ken Feder, Professor of Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University, and founder of the Farmington River Archeology Project.  Trip starts at 9:00 am.

Pre-registration is required for canoe trips.
Canoe trips take from 2-4 hours and paddlers must be able to handle a canoe in flat water.
Cost per person:
Members: Need a boat: $20; Have a boat: $15
Non-members: Need a boat: $25; Have a boat: $20

Space is limited and trips sell out quickly!  To register, please contact FRWA at
(860) 658-4442, or email: river@frwa.org.

RESCHEDULED: Twilight on the River Canoe Trip – Saturday August 12, 2017

This trip is now rescheduled for August 12th at 5:45 pm!

Paddle our beautiful Farmington River in the cool of evening, in the company of great blue herons, muskrats, beavers, and other crepuscular wildlife. Enjoy a little night music orchestrated by native songbirds and singing insects.  Jay Kaplan, Naturalist and Director of Roaring Brook Nature Center will illuminate the mysteries of our river communities as daylight fades to nightfall. Trip may land after nightfall.

Summer is here and so are FRWA’s canoe trips– easy flatwater paddles for enjoying the river’s scenery, wildlife, and history.  Will you join us?  Details below!

Pre-registration is required for canoe trips.
Canoe trips take from 2-4 hours and paddlers must be able to handle a canoe in flat water.
Cost per person:
Members: Need a boat: $20; Have a boat: $15
Non-members: Need a boat: $25; Have a boat: $20

Space is limited and trips sell out quickly!  To register, please contact FRWA at (860) 658-4442, or email: river@frwa.org.

BEER TASTING May 18th to benefit the FRWA

Join the FRWA at Thomas Hooker Brewery to celebrate and protect the pristine water of our watershed while enjoying a beer tasting fundraiser!

Tickets include: incredible live music, unlimited beer tastings and a tour of the state-of the-art brewery. You can also join in the excitement of our “beer cup” auction with a wide variety of GREAT prizes and partake of the delicious and unique gourmet pretzels from The Comfort Zone Food Truck which will be parked on site (a portion of all pretzels sold will be donated back to FRWA – that’s a nice twist!).

We will also have snacks and soft drinks on hand! Tell your friends and family to come as well as we toast and support the amazing work of FRWA!