Celebration at Goodwin Forest marks 100-year milestone

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Hampton - posted Tue., Aug. 20, 2013
Kim Kelly, horticultural director, and Lynne Warren, president of Friends of Goo
Kim Kelly, horticultural director, and Lynne Warren, president of Friends of Goodwin Forest enjoy the Richard D.Haley Wildlife Gardens. Photos by Kitty LeShay.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Connecticut park system, so to celebrate, Goodwin Forest Conservation Center hosted an open house/anniversary event on Friday, Aug. 16.

The SoJourners - cyclists who are biking from the eastern end of the state to Sherwood Island in Westport - dropped in at Goodwin for lunch on Aug. 16, and enjoyed an interpretive walk around the grounds focusing on trees. They will be visiting many other state parks as part of the 100-year celebration.

“This evening we are celebrating the volunteers and staff who have worked to make Goodwin Forest shine,” said Steve Broderick, director of the Forest Conservation Education Center.

In 1913, James Goodwin began purchasing land in Hampton, which would result in a gift of 2,000 acres to the state of Connecticut 50 years later. Today, Goodwin is a well-maintained forest and active education center offering programs to people of all ages. Because of the vision and dedication of staff and volunteers, Goodwin’s dream of leaving his land to be preserved, managed and used for educational purposes in perpetuity is realized.

“We work hard to keep James Goodwin’s vision of conservation and education a reality, and we do it with a small, but mighty, staff,” Broderick said. Goodwin was one of the first professional foresters in Connecticut, earning his degree from Yale. “He itched to practice what he learned and purchased his first of many parcels of land in Hampton a hundred years ago,” Broderick said.

Goodwin Forest Conservation Education Center has 14 miles of well-maintained trails, three large ponds and a nature museum. In addition, the Richard Haley Native Plant Wildlife Gardens has been reclaimed from invasive plants and is a place of beauty and peace for those who meander through. Horticultural director Kim Kelly started the project six years ago. Volunteers from the University of Connecticut Master Gardener Program have assisted with the design and maintenance of the gardens, many of whom are members of Friends of Goodwin Forest.

Lynne Warren, president of Friends group, is also a master gardener. “This place is magic. I took a master gardener course in 2009 and I never left,” she said. The Center is managed jointly by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, Inc. “It is a successful, unique partnership between a non-profit and state agency. It was Steve Broderick’s vision to bring this back to the thriving center it has become," Kelly said.

Plants are always on sale at affordable prices during the growing season. “We want to encourage homeowners to incorporate them into their landscapes,” Warren said.

For information on how to become a Friend of the forest, contact sbroderick@ctwoodlands.org or friendsofgoodwinforest.com. This site will also provide information about the many programs offered at Goodwin.


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