formerly Ridgefield + Wilton Magazine
– Timothy Summers, Interpretive GuideSo many people believe that most frogs just die in the winter, which is false! Frogs are cold-blooded, meaning their body temperatures are the same as the environment around them. In the winter months, they go into a state of hibernation with some species being exposed to below freezing temperatures. Aquatics frogs, like this green frog, will spend the winter at the bottom of ponds or other bodies of water. The frogs that live primarily on land will burrow down below the frost line. Frogs such as wood frogs or spring peepers aren’t good at burrowing, so most will just squeeze into cavities of fallen logs or abandoned small animal holes. The most incredible thing about these two species is they have a natural antifreeze in their bodies – a high concentration of glucose – that prevents them from freezing. Although their hearts will stop beating and they stop breathing, when the warm weather comes, they begin to thaw and miraculously come back to life!
We have a granite monument in the park that was built in 1888! According to our history books, the monument was built using local granite. Is there something special about the stones around here? – Nick McGraw, Interpretive Guide
Great question! About two million years ago the ice age began. Connecticut was covered in an ice sheet or glacier that slowly moved across the land. Ice riding over the land and volcanic eruptions created the landforms that we see today. Our state is known for its rocky soil, rolling land, and hills. One of the most common types of rock found is granite, an igneous rock composed mostly of two minerals – quartz and feldspar. Granite is an intrusive rock, meaning it crystalized from magma that cooled at the surface. Stony Creek Quarry in Branford, CT is part of Mesozoic Era deposits formed between 250-650 million years ago. It was first quarried in 1858 and many famous landmarks and architecture across the country are built with Stony Creek granite, including the Statue of Liberty pedestal, the floors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Battle Monument at West Point, which was made from a single 96-ton piece of granite in 1897! I would say, there is certainly something special about the rocks around here!
A lot of old pictures of the park don’t have many trees in them, but the park has a lot of trees in it now. What gives? Is the whole state like this?– Ellery Leary, President, Friends and Neighbors of Putnam Memorial State Park
According to a recent study, the earth currently has over 3 trillion trees! One hundred years ago, there were far less. Thanks to sustainable lumber practices and conservation efforts we have more trees in America than ever before! In the 17th century, Connecticut, along with most of New England, was heavily harvested for timber by European colonizers. Today’s efforts to rebuild our forests has been primarily focused on the east coast. Federal, state, and local governments spend around $6.4 billion annually on forest management. Eco-friendly initiatives all around the world aimed at fighting global warming offers hope to us all. An ex-Nasa engineer plants 1 billion trees per year with a drone and in India every time a girl is born, they plant 111 fruit trees! Can you imagine if just one person planted 10 trees for 10 years, that would be 100 trees! I think I know what I’ll be doing in the spring.