Campaign to Save Coogan Farm Reaches Milestone

March 13, 2013

With the recent award of a $500,000 state grant, the Campaign for Coogan Farm has now raised over $2.6 million towards its $3.5 million goal to conserve the 34-acre parcel as a natural historic park.

"We are so grateful that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) chose Coogan Farm as one of only five state projects to receive the highest grant amount," stated Maggie Jones, the executive director of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center (DPNC). "This is a reflection of DEEP's understanding of the value of Coogan Farm, both to our local community and to residents throughout the state."

DPNC is working with The Trust for Public Land, the nation's leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people, to preserve the farm. The Trust for Public Land holds a contract to purchase the land from the Clara Morgan Coogan Trust for $2.8 million, a price significantly lower than the fair market value of $3.4 million set by a recent appraisal. Additionally, the Clara Morgan Coogan Trust donated an adjoining 11-acre parcel to the DPNC. The $3.5 million campaign goal includes funds to purchase the land and to cover stewardship, renovation and related costs.

"The momentum continues to build thanks to the gifts, awards and pledges we've received from generous donors and due to the impressive volunteers on the campaign committee. Enthusiasm for the protection of this significant farmland is widespread throughout the community and supported by the state," explained Alicia Betty, The Trust for Public Land's Connecticut state director. "It is the last chance to protect farmland along the Mystic River in this important area of town which features Mystic's charm, history and culture. "

As the state grant dollars will not be made available until later in the year, the closing date for the purchase of the land has been extended until September 2013. Upon completion of the campaign, Coogan Farm will be owned by the DPNC and used for recreation, habitat protection, environmental education, and historic interpretation.

"The family is so happy that Village Farm will remain the pure and natural beauty it has always been, stated Ellen Marshall, a Co-trustee of the Clara Morgan Coogan Trust. "We are very thankful to Maggie and her many helpers for all the hard work, time and contributions. We are pleased to know that many townspeople, children and visitors will be able to enjoy the farm as we all did for so many years."

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.

Since 1946, the Nature Center has provided visitors and the community with experiential science programs that further the Center's mission: to inspire and nurture appreciation and scientific understanding of the natural world and foster a personal environmental ethic. The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center (DPNC) serves 50,000 people each year with environmental science programs. Made possible through the generosity and commitment of the Denison Homestead, the Nature Center is a private, not-for-profit organization funded by admission fees, memberships and contributions. With 10 miles of trails, live animals, and a natural history museum, the Nature Center provides many rewarding recreational and educational opportunities. More information about DPNC and its programs can be found at www.dpnc.org.