Test Your Environmental History Knowledge!

From the Spring 2021 Issue

True of False. Connecticut’s rivers are cleaner today than they were 150 years ago.

True or False. Connecticut has more bears today than 250 years ago.

True or False. Connecticut is more forested today than 250 years ago.

We’ve got the answers for you in the Spring 2021 issue!

Our Historic Salt Marshes

Ever wonder why nearly all of our salt marshes are scarred by parallel rows of ditches? That’s not natural, right? What purpose do they serve?

Judy Preston, in her story in the issue, reveals that “Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative, the Civilian Conservation Corps dug thousands of miles of narrow ditches, laid out in a grid pattern and spaced 100 to 150 feet apart, all along the eastern seaboard, with the intention of draining salt marshes to rid them of breeding mosquitoes. By 1940, 90 percent of coastal salt marshes on the Atlantic coast had been ditched, according to the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.” The problem was, it didn’t work to eradicate mosquitoes—but the scars remain.

Preston also tells us where you can visit one historic salt marsh in Connecticut that escaped that fate, and another that has recently been reclaimed from an old town dump to become a new town park with a fantastic view!

Salt marshes are not out of danger, though. After Connecticut ended the practice of destroying salt marshes in the 1960s, loss of this important buffer between land and sea continues due to more modern threats—including sea level rise.

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The Latest Grating the Nutmeg

Episode 112: Interview with Archaeologist Nick Bellantoni
58 minutes. Release date: February 15, 2021

In this conversation about Nick Bellantoni's new book, “And So the Tomb Remained”: Exploring Archaeology and Forensic Science in Connecticut's Historical Family Mausolea, State Historian Walt Woodward and Bellantoni, who in his 30 plus years as state archaeologist entered more tombs that any other archeologist, talk about Nick's experiences doing restoration, recovery work, and criminal investigations  in the tombs of some of Connecticut's oldest and most powerful families.

Read related stories!

The State Archaeologist on 30 Years of Great Finds,” Summer 2014
Sites Underwater Worth Preserving, Too,” Spring 2009


Programs and Exhibitions to Enjoy This Month

New Haven’s Train Stations, Past & Present

Enjoy this virtual illustrated talk given recently by Connecticut historian Bruce Clouette. Visit the New Haven Preservation Trust website to access the talk and to explore other recorded events hosted by the trust.

New Haven Preservation Trust

Almost True Tales

The Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London presents Almost True Tales, an exhibition of works by artist Brian Keith Stephens through May 30. In vibrant figurative paintings, Stephens explores his fascination with animals as mythic symbols.

Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Gardens Spring Back to Life

Spring is a perfect time to visit the Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center in Ridgefield. While the museum is closed to tours during the pandemic, the grounds are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. Take their QR code self-guided tour to learn along the way about their walled garden and rose arbor designed by early-20th-century architect Cass Gilbert.

Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center


Editors’ Picks

Stories we love from back issues to read now.

The Beechers Take the Water Cure, Feb/Mar/Apr 2004

Native American History: Breaking the Myth of the Unmanaged Landscape, Spring 2012

Connecticut’s Hopyards, Summer 2017

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