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We sit under them for shade. We glory in their beauty throughout the New England seasons. But have you ever considered all the various ways our tree canopy aids our community? SOS Trees (“Save Our Shade”) is a group of Old Saybrook residents committed to raising awareness about the importance of the tree canopy and assisting residents and businesses in planting and maintaining our trees in Old Saybrook. Trees and shrubs are vitally important to our collective health and quality of life  – they: help conserve energy in summer and winter. clean the air. provide important nesting habitats, food, and…

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The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) received an early 20th anniversary gift in 2017 with news that the nonprofit organization will be the recipient of an $8 million bequest from the trust of the late Mary Janvrin. Ms. Janvrin and her pre-deceased sister Natalie Janvrin Wiggins lived quiet lives in Old Lyme. They shared a life-long love of all nature, particularly birds, as well as the arts and history.  Mary later resided in Chester and continued to enjoy the beauty of the region until her passing in September 2016.  At that time her trust set into motion the establishment…

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Christopher R. Belfoure was just 24 when he tragically died in July 2011. Yet his passions – his belief in the global community, his dedication to teaching and the environment – will be shared through the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. A graduate of Valley Regional High School and West Virginia University, Chris spoke fluent Mandarin and was pursuing a career as a corporate trainer in Shanghai. He is remembered as a charming, intelligent, ambitious man with a zest for life and adventure. Chris believed knowledge to be a bridge between cultures and a…

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A Legacy of Activism With a journalist’s instinct for information, a global appreciation for life, and a passion for helping today while preserving for tomorrow – it is no wonder Katherine “Katchen” Coley thrived as an activist and advocate. While Katchen’s life took her around the world, it was in Middletown and Middlesex County that inspired her to become nature’s advocate. She was dedicated to preserving the environment and fighting for stricter environmental regulations. Katchen had a long and distinguished career of environmental activism, regularly lobbying the Connecticut congressional delegation in Washington and joining numerous Connecticut-based organizations as an advocate….

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PIONEERING VOLUNTEER and COMMUNITY ACTIVIST Phyllis McDowell humbly and quietly will tell you she started her career in volunteerism because she had nothing to do. She just had too much time on her hands and too much energy to waste. Phyllis, a resident of Chester and Fenwick, believes that helping others – and everything around you – is an obligation and a privilege. Her “volunteer career” began in New Haven. Phyllis founded Fellowship Place which went on to become highly recognized for its pioneering ways of treating mental health patients through art therapy, vocational training and by fostering an open…

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He has been a manufacturer, mayor of West Hartford, educational film producer, and president of the Connecticut Historical Society. She was a member of the Founders of Hartford, the Colonial Dames of America, volunteered in Hartford Hospital’s emergency room, and was active in many organizations and projects including Riverfront Recapture. It is no surprise that Ellsworth and Virginia Grant are considered life-long stewards of the Humanities and the Arts. Virginia was committed to the history of Connecticut and her connections to her community. She was an avid sailor and tennis player, spending many summers in Fenwick. Ellsworth has long been…

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