Collinsville Pollen Trail

Saturday, October 16, 2021 @ 9AM

On Saturday, October 16, 2021 @ 9AM, State Representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw will be hosting an Environmental Walk & Talk at the Collinsville Pollen Trail. One of the best ways we can address our climate crisis is to be aware of what we are planting, what we are using in our yards, and what we can do to help critters, creatures and the Earth. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and join us!

Project Overview:

Collinsville Pollen Trail (Collinsville, CT) is a community planting effort to build an extended native plant garden along a stretch of the former Central New England (CNE) railroad line. Planting for pollinators, planting for biodiversity, planting for birds, bringing wildlife back and creating a welcoming space for residents and visitors is our mission.

The project began several years ago with an impressive invasive plant management effort, headed by Canton resident, Karen Berger, along with Cherry Brook Garden Club and the UConn Extension Master Gardener Program. In March 2019, Eversource's Vegetation Management team supervised the clearing of the trail of trees to ensure electrical service to the area would not be compromised. While it was an abrupt change to the landscape, it created a blank canvas and set the stage for our collective vision.

With cooperation and assistance from Eversource and Canton Department of Public Works, neighbors joined together to research and plan for the first phase of planting which was completed in Fall 2019 with 31 native shrubs. Cherry Brook Garden Club members, local residents and Allen Place property owners planted dozens of perennial bulbs, mulched beds and broadcast thousands of milkweed seeds along the slope leading to the woods.

The objective is to continue eradicating invasive plants and commit to only planting natives along Allen Place. We are planting for the future by successively filling in empty areas with native trees, pollinator-attracting shrubs and perennials, native sedges and grasses, bringing wildlife back to this unique section of trail treasured by many residents and visitors.

Collinsville Pollen Trail runs parallel with the Farmington River Trail (the old train line) at Allen Place, Collinsville, CT, about a mile from historic downtown Collinsville. The historic train depot, High Street Junction, stands at the corner of Dyer Ave. and Allen Place.

VOLUNTEER HOURS: ( click to expand )

Collinsville Pollen Trail Summer/Fall 2021

Holly Hambleton and Karen Berger are the volunteer managers of the Collinsville Pollen Trail and will post specific work days each week.

We will also work with an intern's schedule. Are you interested in volunteering? Please get in touch with Holly or Karen!


Contact info:

Karen Berger

Cell: 860-593-6220

Email: karenkberger@gmail.com


Holly Hambleton

Cell: 860-841-1682

Email: hollyhamb@comcast.net

This is what we are working on currently:

The following are done continuously:

  1. Remove invasive species: knotweed, bittersweet, barberry and others

  2. Study, water and care for a bed or group of plants, track health, pollinators, etc.

  • "Adopt a bed" for the season

  1. Education on the trail:

  • respond to questions by trail users;

  • participate in planned invasive removal demonstrations

  • promote Homegrown National Park program

  1. Update plant & insect information on white board


This work is sporadic or one time only:

  1. ID native plants in the forest and stream side - create inventory of species

  2. Plant or transplant native plants or seeds

  3. Add small signs to ID a majority of native species (Sandra

  4. Research Keystone plants for future wildflower islands

  • design a permanent sign with photos and text describing keystone plants

  • size and material assessment (TBD)

  1. Prepare for opaque tarp to smother weeds, (May) prepare for native grass (August)

  2. Research plants needed to fill seasonal bloom gaps or pollinator gaps

  3. Research native plants best suited for planting in cleared area

  • site mostly in full sun, poor soil, lots of rocks - Right Plant, Right Place

  1. Extension of Collinsville Pollen Trail:

  • continue invasive plant removal along the trail to the east and west

  1. Devise an on-site compost pile for safe plant refuse (no invasives or viable weeds)

[Planting map as of Summer 2020 featuring regionally native trees, perennials, shrubs and grasses - landscape design by Master Gardeners Karen Berger and Diane Lemelin]