The Community Foundation and its donors have a long legacy of protecting our natural resources and wildlife as well as supporting scientific research and programs that educate and engage the public.
The Foundation is also home to The Quinnipiac River Fund, which supports research, restoration, and recreation projects on the Quinnipiac River and surrounding watershed.
|A schoolyard habitat attracts wildlife and engages students. Photo credit: Audubon Connecticut|
Partnership Creates Urban Oases
In 2013, a collaborative project to create urban oases throughout New Haven was formally designated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as the New Haven Harbor Watershed Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership. The work has transformed vacant lots, park areas and schoolyards into habitat for birds and pollinators.
The partners include Community Foundation grantees Audubon Connecticut, Connecticut Ecology Project/Common Ground, Urban Resources Initiative, New Haven Land Trust, as well as New Haven’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees and the US Fish and Wildlife.
|Youth at work in a community garden. Photo Credit: Ian Christmann|
Community gardens teach stewardship
New Haven Land Trust (NHLT) and Urban Resource Initiative (URI) engaged more than1,600 individuals in gardening and restoration projects in gardens and greenspaces throughout New Haven during recent grant terms. Participants learned about many aspects of planting, maintenance, and the management of natural resources.
NHLT made improvements to the 45 gardens it manages, including the addition of more than 200 raised beds, 16 sheds, 10 picnic tables, and 9 benches. URI initiatives added a total of 3,621 perennials, 459 shrubs, and 320 trees to greenspaces and landscapes throughout the region.
|Outer Island has the only public access among the Thimble Islands in Branford.|
An island made public
In 1995, Elizabeth Hird donated her summer home on the outermost of Branford’s Thimble Islands to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A lifelong environmental activist, Hird’s generosity preserved the island for research and established the only public access point to one of the Thimble Islands. The island is now part of the Stuart B. McKinley National Wildlife Refuge.
Hird also established the Outer Island for Education & Research Fund at The Community Foundation. A cooperative partnership formed between The Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Connecticut State University System, and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Long Island Sound Fund now provides environmental education and scientific research opportunities on the Island.
|The Quinnipiac River is both ecologically and economically important to Greater New Haven. Photo Credit: Ian Christmann|
Protecting the Q river
In 1990, The Quinnipiac became the first river in the state of Connecticut to have an endowment at a community foundation that generates income to protect it and its surrounding environment. The fund was established as part of a court settlement of litigation brought by the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and the Natural Resources Defense Council against the Upjohn Company concerning wastewater discharges from the Upjohn Company's plant in North Haven
Since then, The Community Foundation has managed the Quinnipiac River Fund, which grants about $100,000 annually to research, restoration, and recreation projects on the Quinnipiac River and surrounding watershed. Learn more at www.thequinnipiacriver.com.
Dive Into The Issues
This rich history of the Quinnipiac River is explored in a photographic series on thequinnipiacriver.com, the website for The Quinnipiac River Fund. The series pairs historic with present-day photos, and features the iconic Grand Avenue Bridge.
In two years, Audubon Connecticut created 29 enhanced habitats with native plantings at urban parks and schools throughout New Haven,
Recent Grant Awards
- Animal Haven - $69,277 to expand the shelter and improve conditions for homeless adoptable cats and dogs.
- Audubon Connecticut - $42,000 to support Urban Oases in New Haven: Creating Healthy Communities for People and Wildlife, which engages multiple stakeholders in the creation of healthy, sustainable communities in underserved neighborhoods in New Haven and Hamden.
- Massaro Community Farm - $60,000 to provide general operating support to maintain a historic farm using organic practices, to provide fresh produce to the needy, and to build community through farm-based education and events.
- New Haven Ecology Project (Common Ground) - $110,000 to provide general operating support for a public charter school, an environmental education center and an urban farm.
- New Haven Land Trust, Inc.- $45,000 to provide general operating support for the management of community gardens and land preserves as well as environmental education programming.