The Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC) annual benefit, JAZZ at the Lake, is set for September 23 from 3:30 PM to sunset at Tranquillity Farm in Middlebury. Hosted by Tranquillity Farm owners, Dr. Scott and Jean Peterson, JAZZ at the Lake features the Berkshire Jazz Orchestra and welcomes the famed Faith Middleton of Connecticut Public Radio as Honorary Chair. Guests will be treated to a big band performance along with fine wines, tempting hors d’hoeuvres and silent and live auctions on this historical and amazing property overlooking Lake Quassapaug.
During the evening’s celebration, Frederick “Dick” Leavenworth, of Woodbury, CT, will be presented with The Dr. Marc J. Taylor Environmental Stewardship Award. Dick is being recognized as a tireless leader and advocate for protecting and enhancing the natural systems that make this corner of the world a special place. He has provided the Town of Woodbury and the entire State of Connecticut with decades of conservation leadership that has effected real protections and real progress in the preservation of natural systems. Through service on multiple boards including the Northwest Conservation District, Woodbury Conservation Commission, and Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition, Dick has ensured a balance in protecting land, water, flora, and fauna while allowing for continued development of the human landscape. He is a true champion for preserving open space and promoting low impact development practices.
Dick’s most notable achievement is his leadership in the open space acquisition of the Woodbury Reservoir. More than 50 years ago, Dick was instrumental in identifying the two parcels surrounding the former drinking water supply as high priority conservation land. Over the years, he brought together elected officials, town commissions, environmental partners, and government agencies to outline the key environmental and cultural attributes of the property including the water supply, the historic trolley bed, development potential of the site, cause for preservation, and future recreational opportunities. With great patience, perseverance, and tireless coalition-building, Dick’s vision for this acquisition became a reality in 2016 when the Town of Woodbury purchased more than 200 acres of land around the former water supply.
PRWC’s Board of Directors established the Dr. Marc J. Taylor Environmental Stewardship Award in 2015 to honor Dr. Taylor and his exceptional vision and long term exemplary commitment to environmental stewardship, and to recognize similar efforts by dedicated Connecticut conservationists. Dr. Taylor, who passed away in June of 2012, is remembered as a highly respected and compassionate physician, educator, and environmental leader. In 1999, Dr. Taylor and a group of his peers—including award recipient Dick Leavenworth—founded the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition to study the quality and quantity of water in the Pomperaug Watershed, a 90-square mile area that touches eight towns in western Connecticut. PRWC works with watershed towns, regulatory agencies, environmental organizations and community volunteers to continue Dr. Taylor's legacy in stewarding the local water resources.
JAZZ at the Lake celebrates PRWC's ongoing environmental coalition-based protection accomplishments. The event also raises additional funds to support student internships and the Youth Conservation Corps, educational and other environmental outreach programs, the science-based development of and advocacy for sustainable water and land use policies, watershed monitoring and restoration initiatives and other vital work. Tickets are $75 per person and it is recommended that they be purchased in advance at www.pomperaug.org or by calling 203-263-0076. In the event of rain the celebration will be held on September 24.
Major business and foundation sponsors include Heritage Village/Connecticut Water Company, New Morning Market, Aquarion Water Company of CT, O&G Industries, Inc., Classic Turf, Connecticut Community Foundation, Ion Bank, Kevin and Alicia Bennett, Giuliano Richardson & Sfara LLC, Good News Café, Haynes Materials, Milone & MacBroom, Inc., Secor, Cassidy, McPartland P.C., Southbury Village Square LLC, Thule, Timex Group USA, and USA Hauling & Recycling.