Joshua's Trust now protects over 4,000 acres in northeastern CT! Help us reach 5,000 acres - become a member today!

office hours

Former Eagleville School House
South Eagleville Rd
Mansfield, Connecticut,
Thurs.1:30pm to 3:30pm.

Joshua's Trust Lof Woodlands Dedication

Joshua's Trust Lof Woodlands in Mansfield, CT
For the complete image gallery click here

On a May 15th alternately sunny and then overcast, Joshua's Trust members, Mansfield residents, neighbors and family of John Lof turned out to celebrate his life-long commitment to open space conservation and the larger community of Mansfield.

Allison Burchell-Robinson, Joshua's Trust president, spoke about the mission of the Trust:

"The mission, I am sure you here know, is to preserve and protect land, but our mission is more involved than that because we protect land in perpetuity - we do it forever. ... That is not always the case; in more than one town today there are concerns about encroachment involving protected land.. swapping land, even pending state legislation. In New Britain, they are very concerned that parkland donated to the city may be encroached upon by a retail chain. Joshua's Trust," she said, "honors its commitment to donors forever. This is our commitment to our donors and we honor it".

James Morrow, chair of the Mansfield Open Space Commission, spoke briefly to thank Mr. Lof and his family "...for sharing their treasure with us all", and to recognize Joshua's Trust for their long-standing partnership with the town of Mansfield. "The value of land according to real estate agents is location, location, location, and mature forest is going very fast as you all know - the frontage along this road, think what it means to the community, and to people coming through the Mansfield gateway."

The last speaker was Steve Morytko,, who worked with Mr. Lof at the UConn computer center:
"I came to Uconn back when Mr. Lof was director of the Computer Center. It was probably the most powerful computer system in the state then - state government anyway, and it was a research facility. Mr. Lof had come to UConn in 1952 from MIT. His tenure set the tone for a very interesting and challenging environment... I would say Mr. Lof created the tone that allowed research and employees to flourish...John was the founding father to the computer center and it eventually became an incredible resource for the University.

Mr. Lof retired in 1976 but he never stopped coming to the University, maintaining an office and doing his own private research. Some of our fondest memories, every April, Mr. Lof would come by and distribute maple syrup to everyone in the office, every year to an increasing number of was just amazing and everyone enjoyed that. If you walk the property you'll still see the sugar shack where Mr. Lof toiled producing that syrup.

Some of you may know that I'm an avid birder but I didn't get started until years later in this area and I missed some of the birding legends in this area. Ruth Lof was one of them, she was a great birder and she banded 40,000 birds on this property. If any of you have done banding you will know what a lot of work that is...and she held the record for banding the oldest Chickadee in the US, 13 years old. The Lofs have obviously tended their garden well here and taken good care of their property. There are numerous jack in the pulpit, some remnant American Chestnut, red eyed and yellow throated vireo and scarlet tanager.. that's got to be the scarlet tanager that's nearest the population center we live so close to. That's something you find only in mature forest.

Obviously John's generosity to Joshua's Trust and to the University is remarkable. John has created environments all his life that he shares with others. This place will go on to be shared by many other people.. so we are very thankful for your generosity John, and I feel truely honored to have been a part of his life and to have John on my 'life-list'.",

Richard Lof,, Mr. Lof's son, had come down from his home in Massachusetts for the ceremony, and he mentioned that his parents' life-long intention had been to preserve the parcel, and that he was very pleased to be present to see that dream realized.

Following the speeches, everyone got a chance to thank Mr. Lof personally, and snacks were provided all around before heading out on the trail.

Gary Griffin, Trust regional stewardship coordinator, led a walk though the property and regaled us with tales of boundary marking discoveries. The day, slightly overcast, was excellent for walking and birdwatching with hardly a biting insect in evidence. Birds that are active singing in the middle of the day, flycatchers and vireos, were heard and seen.

Eric Thomas,, CT DEP watershed manager and co-founder of the Willimantic River Alliance, was on hand to help identify plants and animals along the trail. He pointed out that Yankee farmers watched oak trees carefully in the spring, and once the leaves opened up and were the size of a mouse's ear, it was time to plant the corn. Along the trail were shagbark (Carya ovata) and pignut hickory trees, and yellow birch (Betula allagheniensis). Invasive plants were at a minimum due to the condition of the soil, which was relatively undisturbed. Activities that turn over the soil make it easier for invasives to get a toehold in an area; but the deep leaf litter on the ground on the Lof preserve and the undeveloped condition was keeping most invasives at bay.