Edith Fairgrieve


GOSA Founders

(l. to r.) Edith Fairgrieve, Priscilla Pratt, Sidney Van Zandt and Omar Allvord, at the GOSA annual meeting Oct. 12, 2006, in the Latham Chester Store, Noank, where they were honored for pioneering contributions to land conservation in Groton.

Edith Fairgrieve, a former GOSA director and one of four beloved pioneers of the Groton land conservation movement, passed away on August 4. A memorial service was held in her honor on Sept. 12 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Mystic. Click here for more information about Edith’s conservation work with GOSA and beyond. An obituary was published in The Day on Aug. 17th.

Photo, left to right: Edith Fairgrieve, Priscilla Pratt, Sidney Van Zandt and Omar Allvord, at the GOSA Annual Meeting Oct. 12, 2006, in the Latham Chester Store, Noank, where they were honored for pioneering contributions to land conservation in Groton.

GOSA’s president, Joan Smith shared the following with GOSA’s Board of Directors:
It is sad to see the passing of one of GOSA’s earliest and stalwart members. As Jim Furlong once said, Edith had a moral compass of “true north.” Her legacy lives on in many of GOSA’s principles and projects. She made especially generous contributions to the acquisition of Avery Farm and to the Mystic Woods appeal. We admired her quiet but firm defense of the environment.

Click here to read more about Edith and her work in defense of the environment, including Sidney Van Zandt’s “Remembrance” from the memorial service.

Sidney Van Zandt’s “Remembrance” on Edith Fairgrieve

The following was written by Jim Furlong, former GOSA director, in remembrance of Edith…
This line… is pure Edith:

“Resident opposition, culminating in arrests on the day construction began, was insufficient to deal with a divided community backed up by the political clout of road builders and commercial interests favoring the Connector.”

In my earlier note to Joan, I think I failed to get to Edith’s essence as a GOSA member. Here’s another try:

Though she spoke quietly, Edith was a hard-nosed and uncompromising advocate for the environment. She was fiercely independent and took strong stands against contractors and town planners.  She would not think of tempering her positions in advance in order to avoid disputes. She put GOSA’s case as strongly as possible with the aim of winning the maximum protection for the animals, woods and waters she loved.

Cheers, Jim

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Constitutional Amendment Needed to Protect Open Space

GOSA’s President and Treasurer traveled to Hartford’s Legislative Office Building on March 14th, 2016 to testify at a hearing held by the Government Administration and Elections Committee on two bills pertaining to one issue: the sale, trade and gift of public lands to developers, municipalities, and others by means of the Conveyance Act.

The Town of Groton, in collaboration with a local representative, hoped to acquire 68 acres of Mystic River waterfront land owned by the State (now known as the Mystic Education Center, formerly the Mystic Oral School) for development. This parcel of land is one of the last undeveloped open spaces on the Mystic River. Both spoke in opposition to the Conveyance Act and in support of a constitutional amendment to make the process more transparent and protective of open space. Read GOSA’s Call to Action!, and articles in The Day and in the CT News Junkie about the plan, which ultimately failed.

In January 2017 GOSA learned that, once again, a conveyance of 10 acres of Mystic Education Center Land is in process.

Constitutional Amendment to Better Protect Open Space in CT  Responding to many the attempts over the years to hand over public land to developers, municipalities, and others with no intention of protecting it, Canton State Senator Kevin Witkos has called for a constitutional amendment to protect open space in Connecticut. People who want to save their favorite picnic spots, hiking trails, fishing holes, wildlife watching areas, and recreational space for the future should get behind the proposed amendment. David Leff, the former deputy commissioner for the state DEP who approached Witkos with the amendment idea, reminded us of our “sacred duty to be good stewards” of public lands. “No generation has the right to damage them or give them away.” New York, Maine, and Massachusetts have long had constitutional provisions to protect valuable open space from lawmakers tempted to peddle public properties. It’s time that Connecticut joined them.”

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