When a group of committed Westporters turned the old Allen’s Clam House site into a preserve — featuring wetland plants, a vegetative buffer above the tidal zone and walking paths — they figured it would take 3 years of care before nature took over.
That was 3 years ago.
A couple of Mother Nature curveballs — Hurricane Irene and an October snow — brought volunteers out in force. But as spring blooms, the Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve has emerged as a much-loved, frequently visited and very natural part of town.
It’s visited at all hours by a wide swath of folks. Painters, bird watchers, book readers, flower lovers, parents with kids, lunch breakers — all find peace and beauty there.
A few benches and a couple of signs are the only indications that humans have shaped the preserve. One of the signs describes the history and significance of the Mill Pond.
The other — a gift from Newman’s Own Foundation, created by Audubon illustrator Edward Henrey — identifies some of the 70 species of birds, and many forms of aquatic life. A cutaway shows mollusks burying beneath the sand, crabs scuttlingon top of sand, and mallards diving into the water.
Sherry Jagerson helped mastermind the preserve, from conception to reality. Entering its 3rd full season, she is pleased that each year, volunteers have had to do less “hands-on” work. (The hurricane destroyed lots of leaves, and water washed over vegetation to the street, but nature is hard at work restoring what was lost.)
Sherry, and fellow committee members like Liz Milwe and Wendy Crowther, are proud of the preserve. They’re pleased it’s getting so much gentle use.
Now — like the rest of Westport — they’re eager to relax and enjoy it.
(Despite the Mill Pond Preserve’s success, the committee can always use help. To volunteer, call Sherry Jagerson at 203-856-4580.)