The Last Green Valley ranger shares knowledge of local rivers

By Samantha Figueroa - ReminderNews
Ashford - posted Thu., Sep. 19, 2013
Ranger Bill Reid describes the hikes and paddle trips offered by The Last Green Valley. Photo by Samantha Figueroa.
Ranger Bill Reid describes the hikes and paddle trips offered by The Last Green Valley. Photo by Samantha Figueroa.

On Sept. 13, Babcock Public Library hosted “Connecting the Drops: Source to Sea Through the Last Green Valley,” a presentation on the waterways and wild-life of northeastern Connecticut given by Last Green Valley Ranger Bill Reid.  The presentation was organized by Pam McCormick as part of the Second Friday series, in which the library hosts an educational event on the second Friday of each month.

“It’s to bring a variety of programs to the library for people’s edification,” McCormick said of the Second Friday series.

Reid was invited to give a slide-show presentation about paddling through the rivers of Connecticut. The Last Green Valley, Reid explained, refers primarily to a section of northeastern Connecticut and south central Massachusetts.  Designated by Congress in 1994, The Last Green Valley is an important watershed made up of 35 towns that remain mostly farm and woodland, including seven state forests and five state parks. The Last Green Valley is also the name of a non-profit organization, mostly comprised of volunteer members who are “stewards working to celebrate our heritage, conserve our natural resources, and respect our working land,” according to their brochure.

In his presentation, Reid discussed the waters and wildlife which can be seen and experienced by paddling down the rivers of Connecticut. Reid addressed the water quality issues facing the state’s rivers - mainly pollution due to improper methods of waste disposal and its effects on the rivers - and informed viewers of the steps that have been taken by the state and The Last Green Valley organization to maintain water cleaning stations. The presentation included the wildlife that lives in and around the rivers such as otters, beavers, trout and a variety of birds including bald eagles. Reid explained that TLGV helps the state with its mid-winter bald eagle survey as part of a nationwide census.

“And it’s because of this work that in 2007, the bald eagle was taken off the endangered list,” Reid said.

Reid showed picture slides of paddling trips, river surveys and clean-ups organized by TLGV members.

“I’m convinced,” Reid said during his presentation, “that the more people get out on the rivers, [they] are going to see something that they didn’t realize we have here, and it’s going to open their eyes to something, perhaps, that they want to be part of helping to protect.”

Residents who came to the presentation seemed to enjoy learning about the waterways and wildlife of northeastern Connecticut.
“It was wonderful, I thought,” said Ashford resident Anne Lojzim.

“I really enjoyed it,” said Jerry Lojzim. “I didn’t realize how many rivers came down here.”

“We’ve lived here for like almost 18 years,” said Ashford resident Tony Paticchio.  “I learned a couple of things I didn’t know about some of the rivers around here.  We have part of the Mount Hope River, at the beginning, right at the back of our property.”

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