The Hauser Nature Preserve is one of Weantinoge’s greatest treasures. Located on Fern Avenue in East Litchfield, the property is a 90-acre mosaic of lands donated by Gustave and Rita Hauser and George Weston. The most prominent feature of the property is the 25-acre grassland that is managed for bobolinks and other neotropical migratory songbirds. Litchfield farmer, Rick Plumb, ensures the successful nesting of these birds by only cutting hay after they have departed on their 12,000-mile journey to overwinter in South America – a record distance for bird migration. Bobolinks, like many grassland birds, are declining because of land development and early-season hay cutting in North America and habitat loss in South America. We try to foster the species wherever and whenever we can. The Hauser Nature Park also provides a home for birds of prey including American kestrels, red-tailed hawks, and Cooper’s hawks.
The forestland of the Hauser Nature Preserve features fine hardwoods that extend to the north and northeast of the hayfield. Varied terrain and compact wetlands abound, creating microhabitats that foster much wildlife: This place always rewards the quiet and attentive hiker. The Ed Eveleth Memorial Trail, named after a local conservationist and outdoorsman, who made a difference in countless lives in the county, has several loops and spurs that provide variety for repeat visitors.