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    Parks, Recreation and Trees
    Elm City Parks Conservency
    About ECPC

    Elm City Parks ConservancyElm City Parks Conservancy (ECPC) is a not-for-profit parks advocacy organization serving the New Haven parks system. Our mission is to strengthen public awareness of and participation in the city’s parks. Our methods include building partnerships with individuals, park friends groups and other community-based organizations, and sharing resources.

    ECPC’s scope is as broad as the New Haven Parks System, a network of over 100 parks and green spaces. We work to enhance all of New Haven’s parks and monuments, from the smallest parcels, such as Kimberly Square’s ghost ship monument, to the largest, like East Rock Park’s four hills and 425 acres.

    The partnering of ECPC with the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation & Trees provides many opportunities for new programs, new monies and new ideas, that can positively influence the direction, management and shape of our beloved parks and monuments. ECPC is a regular presence at public hearings and park events. From individual park festivals to city-wide planning meetings, ECPC provides support, information and advocacy assistance for New Haven park users.

    An all-volunteer Board of Directors governs ECPC.

    Address The Board
    ECPC Office:
    29 Atwater Street
    New Haven, CT 06513
    Marge Ottenbreit, President
    Colin Caplan
    Dave Demers, Secretary
    Doreen Abubakar
    Chris Ozyck
    Dave Reher
    Anna Schildroth, Treasurer
    Rita Vaughn Wilson


    If you’d like to find out more about us, volunteer, or become more involved with New Haven’s parks, please contact us at: 203-946-2459 or email: elmcityparksconservancy@gmail.com.

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    ECPC Events
    Winter Festival featuring POLAR PLUNGE for PARKS
    Polar Plunge

    First Day New Haven Winter Festival - Featuring: Polar Plunge
    at Lighthouse Point Park - January 1st, 2016, 11 AM - 2 PM

    | Hot tubs | Incredible brunch |
    | Activities for kids |

    Information: call 203-946-2459 or email: elmcityparksconservancy@gmail.com
    Register online: www.eventbrite.com - download flyer and registration form.


    It has been a busy and productive summer, and hard to believe that another year has almost come and gone already. We are now beginning our plans for POLAR PLUNGE - FIRST DAY NEW HAVEN. We hope to make registration easier this year with an improved on-line registration format. Enjoy Polar Plunge!

    At Edgewood Park, Green Team volunteers maintained the park, worked with Urban Resources Initiative (URI) to plant and care for 10 new trees, while the Youth at Work group teamed up with the Parks Department to rehab the West Park Avenue foot trail. The group established an Urban Oasis with help from URI and Common Ground High School kids. While coordinating volunteers from churches, Stantec Engineering, SCSU, Quinnipiac and Yale, they sponsored Nature Pals for the park's youngest friends. After gaining funding for the new water fountain at the Gazebo, water will begin flowing in spring. Next up is replacing the long-lost plaque on the monument to the Spanish American Fighter. Other events held include the BIG! Fall Hike, Edgewood Park Day, and the Maple Sap/Sugar Social. Excellent work!

    The Butterfly Gardens at Lighthouse Park are thriving under the watchful eye of John Cox and his crew. They began in early spring to clean, prepare and get ready for planting flowers in late spring. This group meets every Friday morning and welcomes anyone interested in gardening and butterflies.

    To recap some other activities in our parks this past summer, Elm City Parks Conservancy's summer intern from Southern Connecticut State University worked to beautify the Pardee Greenhouse and other New Haven parks, including West River Memorial Park, Griswold Triangle, Fort Nathan Hale, the Butterfly Garden at Lighthouse Park and Front Street Park. Jennifer's efforts were much appreciated.

    The recently formed Friends of Fort Wooster had a British Invasion anniversary celebration on July 5th with representatives from various historical societies, including East Haven, Wallingford, West Haven, the New Haven Historical Museum, Fort Nathan Hale and ECPC. The hope is to list Fort Wooster on the National Register of Historical Places.

    Elsewhere in New Haven, Nan Bartow and the Friends of Beaver Pond Park met throughout the summer on Wednesday evenings. With a stalwart group of volunteers, invasive species were removed, mulch was spread, and plants were watered to improve the area's beauty. Another accomplishment was the care given to newly planted perennials, which were lovingly installed after being raised for this purpose at Pardee Greenhouse. Working with URI intern Uma Bhandaram this past fine summer, community stewardship was emphasized, as the group monitored environmental issues at Bowen Field. Kudos!

    ECPC's Board Member, Doreen Abubakar, busy at the Learning Center in Newhallville, also planted along the Farmington Canal and helped make the West River Festival another huge success. The West River Memorial Park group installed plantings around the Timothy Francis Ahearn (The Doughboy) monument, which were greatly enjoyed by our local deer – alas, they ate them up! Yes, a very fun park!

    The Friends of Edgerton Park and East Rock Park furthered their work all summer with interns to preserve and maintain the parklands and trails. Continuing their traditional seasonal events, such as Shakespeare in the Park, the Chili-Cook Off (sadly a no-go this year) and the Photo Contest, these groups keep on doing terrific work! Here's to all of the Friends of Edgerton Park and Friends of East Rock Park!

    Thank you all and see you at the Polar Plunge!
    Marge Ottenbreit, President, ECPC

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    Fort Nathan Hale

    Fort Nathan Hale statue
    Fort Nathan Hale entranceFort Nathan Hale drawbridge
    Cannons at the FortCannons at the Fort
    Cannons at the FortCannons at the Fort
    Underground bomb-proof bunker at the FortCivil War doctor's kit
    Colonial LadyColonial Lady
    Fort Nathan Hale in 1843

    Parks Presents

    Each month from June through October, ECPC holds a community service event in a different New Haven park. Our goals are to organize needed maintenance and beautification – we offer a present to each park – while becoming a greater presence throughout the entire parks system. At these events, all are welcome to help out, meet your neighbors and improve the quality of your environs.

    SCA Summer Interns

    Each summer, ECPC hires several Student Conservation Association (SCA) interns who seek the opportunity to gain valuable resource conservation work experience. Motivated young men and women from across the United States and around the world apply to SCA for short or long-term positions. Our SCA Resource Assistants assist with our mission, working with the New Haven Park Rangers, local Park Friends Groups, and ECPC staff. They provide manual labor as well as conduct community education and outreach activities to help restore, maintain, and enhance New Haven’s parks.

    Experience Your Parks Small Grants

    Through the generosity of the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, ECPC offers grants of up to $250 to Parks Friends and neighborhood groups to offset the expenses of holding events at their local parks. pdf icon Click here for information and application.

    Public Art in the Parks

    Public Art OrnamentsECPC actively supports the ongoing conservation of New Haven's public sculptures through our Monument Medallion Program. Using the momentum from the success of our Save Our Sculpture campaign, through which we funded the restoration of the Timothy Ahearn Monument in West River Memorial Park, we have commissioned Woodbury Pewter to manufacture commemorative medallions that feature New Haven Park sculptures and monuments.

    Five Mile Point Lighthouse adorned our first medallion in 2004, followed by the Christopher Columbus statue in Wooster Square in 2005. In conjunction with the office of former Mayor John DeStefano, ECPC selected the Angel of Peace (located atop East Rock Park’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument) for the 2006 edition to honor the rededication of this statue following a substantial conservation program to maintain its integrity and elegance. The 2007 Monument Medallion features the Defenders' Monument, commemorating a unique Revolutionary War battle fought right here in New Haven.

    pdf iconClick here for Ornament Order Form.

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    ECPC In The News

    Volunteers in the Parks:
    Kimberly Field Entrance Restored - New Haven Independent

    Polar Plunge:
    New Haven's Polar Bears Aren't Extinct - New Haven Independent

    Long Wharf Nature Preserve - New Haven Independent
    Bird Watching: Don't Move That Trail - New Haven Independent

    Public Art in the Parks:
    ‘Angel of Peace’ statue returns to East Rock today - New Haven Register
    Statue to be returned to East Rock - New Haven Register

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    ECPC Newsletters

    View our newsletters and see what we've accomplished.

    PDF IconSummer/Fall 2013 PDF IconSpring 2012 PDF IconSpring 2008 PDF IconSummer 2007
    PDF IconWinter 2007


    A membership in ECPC benefits New Haven's wonderful park system, our organizationís efforts, and serves each of our members as well. The parks gain more dedicated friends and advocates, ECPC accrues strength in numbers to more effectively carry out our mission; and members can stay informed about our events, programs and efforts.

      1. To download a membership form right-click here.
      2. Fill in the form.
      3. Mail it with your check to :
             PO BOX 9667
             New Haven, CT 06536
    Parks Friends

    New Haven has more than a dozen Park Friends Groups that contribute time, energy and innovative ideas to keep our parks vibrant and healthy. ECPC has worked to strengthen the parks by providing resources and information to these established and developing neighborhood groups. ECPC also helps with mailings, outreach, fundraising, and event insurance through our partnership with the Parks Department, and will advocate on the behalf of Park Friends Groups on appropriate issues of concern.

    The current Friends Groups include:

    Edgerton Park Conservancy
    Fort Nathan Hale Restoration Projects, Inc.
    Friends of Bayview Park
    Friends of Beaver Ponds Park
    Friends of Bishop Woods Bird Sanctuary
    Friends of East Rock Park
    Friends of Edgewood Park
    Friends of Jocelyn Square
    Friends of Lenzi Memorial Park
    Friends of Lighthouse Park Carousel
    Friends of Rainbow Park
    Friends of West River Memorial Park
    Friends of West River Narrows Area
    Historic Wooster Square Association
    Proprietors of the Common & Undivided Lands (New Haven Green)
    West Rock Ridge Park Association

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    Friends of Lighthouse Point Park

    A new group, Friends of Lighthouse Point Park, has formed. We invite anyone interested in helping to contact ECPC at our email address or call us at 203-946-2459. Please contact us if you are interested in joining a Park Friends Group - or even starting one of your own! We can help!

    Email Elm City Parks Conservency

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    Click To Visit Department
    Canoeing at East Rock Park
    Polar Plunge at Lighthouse Point Park
    Winterfest at West Rock Nature Center
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