The Register Citizen
Photo credit: Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut
CORNWALL — The members of National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC) recently honored The Housatonic Valley Association with the Award of Excellence, the highest award presented by NGC to a non-member.
The Award of Excellence honors an individual, organization or institution that has made a significant contribution toward the advancement of goals and purposes of National Garden Clubs, Inc, according to a statement.
The Housatonic Valley Association was founded in 1941 in Cornwall Bridge. Lynn Werner, Executive Director, heads this water, land and recreation conservation nonprofit organization. Its mission is to protect the natural character, environmental health, and economies of the Housatonic River Valley watershed for present and future generations, according to the statement.
“The Housatonic River Valley boasts world-class fishing, biking, hiking, paddling, history and sightseeing,” members said. “The source of the watershed starts in the Berkshire Mountains and stretches 149-miles across Connecticut, culminating in the tidal marshes of Long Island Sound. It includes mountain waterfalls, rolling hills, covered bridges and a section of the Appalachian Trail. The HVA is one of the oldest watershed conservation organizations in the nation.”
Werner oversees the day-to-day management of the association including collaborating with individuals, groups and agencies with the goal of maintaining a healthy river system. HVA is recognized across the region as an effective, efficient, and science-based organization.
The HVA has restored the Furnace Brook Fishway in the town of Cornwall that allowed trout to swim upstream to spawn for the first time in 20 years; demanded that General Electric and the Environmental Protection Agency clean up the PCBs in the watershed system; created the RiverSmart campaign to study the impact of polluted runoff and how to reduce it; successfully fought to reroute a natural gas pipeline away from the watershed; and stopped a superhighway route through the scenic ridgeline and saved 6,000acres of river valley from developers, members said.
The HVA also launched ‘Follow the Forest’ to emphasize the need for a wildlife corridor; conducts educational programs for kindergarten to high school students on biology, ecology and chemistry of the watershed; offers free paddling workshops for families; and plans hikes for naturalists, scientists, and historians.