Where can you find marsh lands, centuries-old dog skeletons, and an osprey nest?
On the nine acres of Grannis Island, land recently donated to the New Haven Land Trust.
Tuesday night, Land Trust members and environmentally-conscious guests gathered to celebrate the donation of Grannis Island to the community.
The celebration was held at Martin’s Riverside Cafe. Attendees had the opportunity to canoe out to the island (pictured) and schmooze with one another along the Quinnipiac.
The gift came from Roger Chapman, president of Branford-based construction contractor, Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman Inc. When Chapman heard Grannis Island described by the state archaeologist as a “priceless archaeologist treasure,” he decided to donate the property to the Land Trust.
Native Americans once congregated on the island during the summer months to harvest protein from the rich oyster beds on the bottom of the Quinnipiac River.
Archaeologists have discovered remains from a dog cemetery most likely dating back to the pre-European period, said Land Trust Preserve Manager Dave Rener, the Preserve Manager, pictured here with Land Trust President Chris Randall.
The Land Trust will maintain the island as an unadulterated preserve.
Rener plans to restore the island to its natural state by removing invasive plants, like poison ivy, and promoting the growth of natural plants.
The acquisition took over a year and a half, but it was worth it, said Chris Randall.
“The island has been kept unadulterated and protected,” Randall said. “We look forward to preserving the land for generations to come.”
Grannis Island is now one of seven preserves protected by the Land Trust. And, according to Chris Ozyck (pictured), an important one.
“We’re losing marsh lands as our seas rise,” said Ozyck, a member of the Quinnipiac River Group. “Without land acquisition to protect the marsh lands, those estuaries would disappear.”
Ozyck used a small net to show guests the variety of aquatic life residing in the Quinnipiac River: shrimp and clear jellyfish to name a few.
Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. (pictured with Roger and Violet Chapman) agreed with the importance of preserving the riverside. He applauded government initiatives that have helped clean up the rivers over the past 40 years and the Land Trust for “creating communities” throughout the city with their preserves and communal gardens.
“Thanks to the generous donation from Roger Chapman, our community received a great asset,” DeStefano said.