By Steve Faccio, Vermont Center for Ecostudies
Thanks to a somewhat unique partnership between the Strafford Conservation Commission (SCC), the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE), and late Strafford resident, Anne Aversa, the Cobb Town Forest on Hemenway Road has a beautiful new trailhead kiosk. Ann Aversa lived in Strafford from 2002 until her death in 2018. An artist, skilled birder, and lover of the natural world, Anne was a dedicated volunteer at VCE for many years. She also served the Strafford community as Town Lister and was on the board of the Strafford Historical Society. When VCE learned that Anne had left a planned gift to the non-profit organization in her will, the staff decided they wanted to memorialize Anne in some way for her years of volunteer service. After discussions with her three brothers and the SCC it was decided that a kiosk at the town forest would be ideal.
Designed and built by TimberHomes Vermont in Vershire, the kiosk was installed by SCC members, Mike Hebb and me, along with assistance from Pat Kelly, whose Kubota tractor and auger did the bulk of the hard work digging the holes for the posts. In a true community effort typical of Strafford, Micki Colbeck (another SCC member and VCE volunteer) produced a 24”x 30” GIS map of the Cobb Town Forest trails, which was generously printed on Janet Cavenaugh’s large format printer, and serves as the centerpiece of the kiosk display. There are also photographs of some of the wildflowers, lichens, mosses, and wildlife sign that may be encountered hiking the roughly 1½ miles of trails on the property. In addition, as a tribute to Anne’s memory, the kiosk has a short biography and examples of her art work.
Take a little time this summer to visit your town forest and enjoy its natural treasures. The peak time to view the display of Showy Lady’s-slipper orchids is in early July, but there is always something of interest to see if you look carefully.