MSA 2012, Yale
West Rock Ridge State Park


The 2012 MSA Foray will take place the morning of Sunday Jul15 in West Rock Ridge State Park, just west of the city of New Haven. The foray will depart Swing Hall at 8:30AM.  The park is a 7-mile long ridge of north-south orientation, composed of extrusive volcanic basalt (also known as "trap rock"), the southern terminus of the Metacomet Ridge system that extends north for 100 miles through the Connecticut River Valley, terminating in Massachusetts at the Vermont/New Hampshire border.  The ridge system comprises a variety of microclimates unusual for New England.   On the warmer and drier upper ridges one finds oak savannah, with an abundance of chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), scrub oak (Q. ilicifolia), and relict populations of post oak (Q. stellata), and an understory of grasses and ferns.  Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is common on the barren cliff edges, where one also occasionally finds prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa).  Peregrine falcons nest on the west facing vertical ridges, and northern copperheads can also be found here.  The wetter and cooler ravines of the east-facing slope support oak-hickory and northern hardwood forest types.

Among the network of trails that run through the park is the ridge-top Regicides Trail, named after the two judges who, having signed the death warrant of King Charles I of England in 1649, sought refuge from arrest on this part of the ridge in 1660, after the crown was restored to Charles II.   The Regicides trail is now part of the newly designated 250-mile New England National Scenic Trail.  The southern terminus of the ridge includes an overlook with expansive views of the surrounding area and Long Island Sound.

Buses will transport the foray participants from West Rock Ridge State Park to the Connecticut Agricultural Station at the edge of New Haven for a pizza or salad lunch. Our local guides from local amateur clubs and NAMA will assist with collection display tables and tallying records from the foray. Three shuttle bus trips will transport participants back to Swing Hall on the Yale campus between 1:30 and 3:00PM.

Foray-Schooner Cruise Duo

This group, maximum of 40, will depart at 8:30AM from Swing Hall on the Yale campus for the foray at West Rock Ridge State Park. Instead of going to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station for lunch, the bus will take this group to Long Wharf at noon to meet the Schooner Quinnipiack. The 2 hour lunch cruise will be from 12:30-2:30PM, and the bus will transport people back to Swing Hall around 2:30PM. A boxed lunch from Café Romeo along with water, soft drinks, beer and wine will be provided.

Field Trips

Quinnipiack, flagship of New Haven

Schooner Quinnipiack Cruise, with Captain Tommy Seda of Schooner, Inc

12:30-2:30 for lunch cruise

7-9 PM for Tuesday dinner cruise

food, beer and wine are included

Departing from Long Wharf, transport to and from Long Wharf a half hour before departure time

Schooner Inc. is a non-profit whose mission is to promote environmental awareness and personal growth by providing educational experiences in marine science, sailing, and the history of Long Island Sound and its watershed.  Our boat, the schooner Quinnipiack, serves as our icon and is, by official decree of the mayor, the flagship of New Haven.  Built in 1984, she has been introducing schoolchildren and the public to the ecology and history of New Haven Harbor and the Long Island Sound for over 20 years! 

Culinary Walking Tour with Stephen Fries

10:45AM - 2:30PM

Meet at John Davenport’s Restaurant, Omni Hotel 19th floor

Join Stephen Fries on his popular culinary walking tour, "Worth Tasting". It’s a delightful and unique opportunity to experience New Haven’s exciting culinary scene. On this 3-1/2 hour tour you’ll visit nine different restaurants and eateries throughout downtown New Haven, representing the depth and diversity of New Haven food culture. Stephen Fries is Professor and Coordinator of Hospitality Management at Gateway Community College, as well as a food columnist for the New Haven Register and a widely read food blogger. He also makes frequent appearances on "In the Kitchen" segments of CT Style on WTNH-8.