The operating agreement between Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) and the state expired on December 31, 2023 and was not renewed due to major staff changes at CFPA. On January 25th, the educational director for CFPA, Beth Bernard, who was providing oversight at Goodwin for all programming and working with the Friends of Goodwin will vacate her position to work for the state as an outreach forester.
As it stands, there will be no one hired to do educational programs, not a director and not a seasonal instructor. DEEP is planning on working with CFPA to eventually fill a position. Meanwhile, they intend to send someone from No Child Left Inside once a month during the summer until something can be worked out. They have also offered to work with volunteers to be able to use the buildings if we send them dates and times we would like to have access (no one can use the buildings without DEEP staff present).
The trails crew are still able to work on the trails.
Lynne Warren, who has been in charge of the gardens, will not lead volunteers under these conditions as the crew needs access to the library, conference room, and facilities. Even though the state has offered to work with dates, they are not guaranteed to happen.
The Friends of Goodwin meetings will continue but most likely we will have our meetings off-site/online.
We thank you for your patience and support. The Goodwin Conservation Center needs to have at least one permanent position without the assistance of outside entities. The last director was Richard Haley and upon his death, they reassigned the position to another part of the state. We also believe the Center and Forest would be better served if it were under the department of Forestry instead of Parks and Recreation. One of our main goals is to become the Center for Forestry in the state of Connecticut, much like Belding and Sessions Woods are for Wildlife Management.
Possible solutions to the current problem: Transfer the operation of the Center to the division of forestry and allow the current foresters to be supervisory staff for the volunteers. Have the newly created position of Outreach Forester be stationed at the Goodwin Center. Vet volunteers so that they can continue to offer programs and training at the Center. Hire a director for the Center.
If you would like to help, please contact any or all of the following people.
Kate Dykes (DEEP Commissioner)
Ned Lamont (Governor)
Pat Boyd (State Representative)
Jeff Gordon (State Senator)
Christopher Martin (State Forester)
Jenny Dickson (Acting Chief, Bureau of Natural Resources)
Tom Tyler (Director State Parks and Public Outreach)
Michael Lambert (Bureau of Outdoor Recreation)