Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center leader Maggie Jones to be honored

Mystic - Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center Executive Director Maggie Jones will be honored Thursday with the Goodwin-Niering Center Alumni Environmental Achievement Award for her more than 20 years of leadership in environmental education and land conservation.

The award honors Connecticut College graduates who have gone on to make significant contributions in their field. Jones, who graduated in 1985 from Conn with degrees in botany and ecology, has led the nature center since 1992 and recently led the effort to purchase and preserve the Coogan Farm property. The presentation and Jones' talk will be at 7 p.m. in Blaustein Hall and is open to the public.

As the nature center's executive director, Jones's work exemplifies the ways that a passion for the environment, combined with an outstanding liberal arts education, can greatly benefit society, the college said on its website.

"This award is very meaningful for me because I knew both Dick Goodwin and Bob Niering well," said Jones about the two men who were botany professors at the college.

"Dick was retired by the time I was a student but he was still very active with the college. And he was always so supportive and he took a real personal interest when I got the job at the nature center." As for Niering, she said "he was one of my teachers, probably the most influential I had. It was in his classes that I decided I really wanted to be a botanist."

"Unlike many leaders, Maggie embraces the entire mission, not just one part," said Kim Hargrave, former director of education at the nature center. "What stands out most is her daily presence at DPNC and being involved in all that happens - writing grants, pulling invasive species, rehabbing a hawk or leading the charge to save the Coogan Farm."

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