Rare flora, fauna and bugs (lots of bugs)
FALLS VILLAGE â€” Students at Housatonic Valley Regional High School got an unusual lecture from a team of environmental experts on Thursday, April 29.
Woods Sinclair, chairman of the Falls Village Conservation/Inland Wetlands Commission, introduced Ken Metzler (retired Connecticut state botanist), Dave Wagner from the University of Connecticut, Laura Saucier from the state Department of Environmental Protection and Dave Gumbart of The Nature Conservancy.
The experts explained to the students that Falls Village has an abundance of unique sites â€” among them Robbins Swamp, the area from Point of Rocks along Sand Road, and the former Dean Christmas tree farm in what is now the Hollenbeck preserve.
Thriving in these and other areas are natural treaures â€” rare butterflies, such as the Columbine dusky wing and the northern metalmark; wetland orchids (â€œvery hard to find,â€ said Metzler); and bugs. Lots of bugs. Wagner, a self-described â€œbug guy,â€ described the area as â€œhyper-diverse.â€
â€œYouâ€™ve got a bug for every season,â€ he said cheerfully.
â€œEvery organism has the potential to improve the human condition,â€ he went on. â€œOrganisms are our canary in the coal mine. We can judge water quality by looking at stoneflies, dragonflies. Equipment can measure water quality now, but insects tell us the history.
â€œOne bug can indicate the health of an entire taxonomic community.â€