Our area is abundant with opportunities to see nature in all its glory! We are fortunate to have stunning hiking and walking spots in Connecticut & New York which not only get us outdoors, but also provide important lessons about the environment and the beauty of all living things. Pictured above is a hiking trail in the Williams-Gurski Open Space in Brookfield, CT.

A nest sits in the trees along the trail in Williams-Gurski Open Space. At this time of year, the leaves of the Winged Euonymous (Burning Bush) turn to fiery reds & pinks. This shrub is an invasive species and can be identified by the broad, flat wings along its stems. 

Winged Euonymous is not native to this area and has been used as an ornamental plant. With dispersion of seeds by birds, it has spread extensively and threatens native plants by crowding and shading. Although this is an invasive plant, its colors are a marvel to see around this time of year. Williams Park has built a small fenced deer exclosure (to keep the deer out) where natural growth is permitted. Within this space, one can see what native species take root in the absence of invasives.

Fall foliage produces a splendid backdrop for walking & hiking. The change in colors occurs as chlorophyll breaks down in the leaves, causing the green coloring to disappear. The yellow-orange pigments are then visible such as in the tree pictured above, in Monroe, CT.

There are many hiking options at Van Vleck Farm in Woodbury, CT. In the summer, the pond life was active and produced a cacophony of sounds (pond pictured above).

Above, Milkweed pods along one of the trails at Van Vleck Farm. Milkweed is the food source for the larvae of the Monarch Butterfly, and adults utilize milkweed plants to lay eggs.

Above is the southernmost trailhead of the Aspetuck Valley Trail, in the Aspetuck River Valley area of Newtown, Easton & Redding, Connecticut. The trail follows the Aspetuck River through the Centennial Watershed State Forest and Aspetuck Land Trust parcels.

Above, this part of the Aspetuck Valley Trail makes for an easy and tranquil hike.

The Aspectuck Valley Trail covers diverse landscape as above.

Pictured above, the Trout Brook Valley Preserve in Weston/Easton, CT is one of the many diverse and beautifully-maintained preserves of the Aspetuck Land Trust. Over twenty miles of trails range from easy to difficult.

In the spring, one sees the numerous Red Efts (pictured above) along the trails at Trout Brook Valley. A Red Eft is the juvenile of the Eastern Newt and is striking in appearance.

Above is the view from a scenic overlook at the Macrisostas Preserve in Washington, Connecticut, one of the magnificent preserves of The Steep Rock Association.

Above, Mountain Lakes Park is Westchester County, New York's northernmost county park. It is characterized by native hardwood forest with miles of trails. The five lakes are part of spectacular hiking options.

Above, this beautiful creature - an American toad - was on the trail at Mountain Lakes this summer.

The Cross River Reservoir & Dam in Westchester County, New York boasts a spectacular view from the dam as well as a peaceful walking trail. 

Above, Canada Geese at the Cross River Reservoir lined up and took off into the water one by one!

Above, foliage along the walking trail at Cross River Reservoir.

Get outdoors, walk, take a hike...enjoy nature at its best!

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