Friday, October 8, 2010

Celebration of nature in New Haven

The New Haven Land Trust recently celebrated key players in the preservation of the Long Wharf Nature Preserve.

Representatives from sponsoring organization IKEA attended, trust officials said in a statement. IKEA has planted 1.5 million trees across the country and will be distributing 500 free seedlings locally on Oct. 16 and encouraging people to plant trees throughout the community, the statement said.

“Tonight,” Land Trust Executive Director Chris Randall said in the statement, “we celebrate the people and accomplishments related to Long Wharf. I want to be sure that we also remember that this preserve is just one shining example of what dedicated volunteers can accomplish.”
Randall is shown in the top photo with Carolyn Humphreys.

Also at the event were representatives from Sunlight Solar, construction materials supplier Suzio York Hill, United Way of Greater New Haven, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale University and the Land Trust’s partner in the preservation of the Long Wharf Preserve, and The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, the statement said.

“The Long Wharf Nature Preserve is a seaside habitat and a haven for native species of birds, butterflies and other insects,” Land Trust President J.R. Logan said in the statement. “It is also a recreational and educational asset for the community. In this way Long Warf Nature Preserve demonstrates both humanities impact and nature's resilience.”

As we know it today, the Long Wharf area is a man made creation, dating back to the 1949 dredging of New Haven Harbor and the creation of new land for I-95, Logan said, according to the statement.
When New Haven was first settled, the harbor's water touched the southern corner of New Haven Green, and the harbor was so large and shallow that a wharf had to built a half-mile out to water deep enough for navigation – hence the name “Long Wharf,” Logan said.

"To this damaged landscape nature slowly returned. A tidal wetland and dune area formed over period of 50 years since the highway was constructed. The upland evolved into a grassland and a small woodland dominated by cottonwood trees. Over many years this transformation was assisted by the joint work of the volunteers of the New Haven Land Trust and the Garden Club of New Haven," the statement said.

"With such diversity in such a small area, is an ideal place for teaching about habitats, the effects of physical conditions on plant life, the adaptations of different organisms to different habitats, and the fidelity of certain organisms to their habitats. The Preserve offers the opportunity for New Havener's to observe and learn about nature. Activities such as bird watching, walking/jogging, photography and relaxing are always encouraged."

The celebration recognized two "champions of the preserve in particular:" David Reher, shown in bottom photo, who served on the Land Trust board of directors for many years and later became a committed preserve manager; and Kris Sainsbury, a long-standing board member and a member of the Land Trust’s Preservation Committee, who channeled her love of City Point and her effectiveness as a community organizer to raise the profile of the Long Wharf Nature Preserve, the statement said.
In center photo, Sainsbury (l) receives her award from Land Trust Treasurer Kate Norton

“Kris developed an influential cadre of individuals and organizations who become key advocates for the Preserve,” Logan said, also in the statement.

“She relentlessly advocated in the interest of the preserve to the Department of Transportation when there were concerns about the impact of the I-95 construction. Kris has spent many hours toiling to create the new long-range strategy for Long Wharf and other preserves,” he said.

Board treasurer and Development Committee Chairowman Kate Norton presented the New Haven Land Trust's Environmental Business Award to Sunlight Solar. The award was accepted by Carolyn Humphreys. (top photo)

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