Winner of the 2016 Dave Engelman Volunteer Benchmark Award
“It’s amazing that I am getting a volunteer award – when I first called the Connecticut Audubon, it was not to volunteer; it was to complain. I was another cranky neighbor complaining about the preserve next to my house. How did that first complaint turn into receiving the volunteer award? It happened when I met some of the most wonderful, passionate people at the Connecticut Audubon and I was blown away at their commitment to nature and the environment. My involvement started with the H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve but I want to contribute much more to the larger cause of Connecticut Audubon.”
“Smith Richardson is an amazing property. The Pequot Indians lived here and named it Machamux (“beautiful land”). The Richardsons, who protected the land and donated it to Connecticut Audubon, did an amazing service by preserving this 75 acres. For those of us who love nature, we must chip in to help to help maintain and preserve these remaining wild places. No organization can do it alone.
“We have two goals for the preserve. We want to remove the invasive vines and non-native plants and restore as many native plants as possible. With so many foreign plants used in the landscaping of the surrounding houses, the native plants will help supply food for many bugs and butterflies and, I hope, will build an awareness of the importance of native plants with the volunteers and visitors to the preserve.
“The second goal is to create a beautiful place to walk in a natural woodland and learn about nature. It is so important for this generation to understand the importance of nature and to see how amazing it is.”