By Don Funaro
Our Woodland Walk takes us from our home base at the Coastal Ecology Center on the beach, to the Painter Park Nature Trail. As we leave the shoreline, campers learn how the environment changes. Plants and animals that we find on the beach are no longer prevalent as we make our way to the Woodlands. Gulls, terns and Egrets are now replaced by Goldfinches, Swallows and Red-Winged Blackbirds along the Cove River, adjacent to West Haven High School. As we make our way into Painter Park, campers become aware of the drop in temperature as we become surrounded by the large trees that make up a typical Eastern Forest.
The Painter Park Nature Trail is our main point of interest in the Woodlands. It is a short walk through a typical Southern New England Forest. On the trail, we point out many different trees and plants that make their home in Painter Park. Along the walk we encounter, Red and Sugar Maples, a Weeping Willow (not so typical!), Slippery Elm, Black Tupelo,Sassafras, White Ash, American Chestnut, Black Birch,Red Oak, and our Connecticut State Tree, The White Oak.
A long walk back leaves us with some tired campers, but the walk is always interesting and very informative.