Love of the Land



For all that Dan Barrett has accomplished in his successive careers as a science teacher at Greenwich High School and helping run the Greenwich Land Trust, one gets the feeling that he was hardly working at all. Make no mistake: He devoted countless hours to his jobs. Nearly four decades of students came away with a better appreciation—and in many cases, a passion—for marine biology and oceanography. And anyone who enjoys seeing natural, open space around town owes him a certain debt of gratitude. But in many ways Dan’s work was also Dan’s play. It afforded him the opportunity to pursue myriad interests, satisfy his curiosity, and perhaps best of all bring others along for the ride. “I loved them both,” he says of his positions.

Dan retired from the land trust effective January 1. On Saturday, June 9 the organization will hold a celebration in his honor, Go Wild @ Night: A Tribute to Dan Barrett, at Greenwich Point’s Secret Garden. Proceeds will go toward the establishment of a stewardship fund to care for the nonprofit’s properties in perpetuity.

During Dan’s thirty-eight years at Greenwich High (he retired in 1995), he was the kind of teacher that students long remembered. In teaching oceanography, he established a laboratory at Greenwich Point and created a foundation to buy special equipment for his classes. Warmer months were devoted to studying marine life. In cold weather it was the waves and the currents. There were also trips to places like St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Through it all was a give and take between Dan and his students and a camaraderie that made learning under him something special. “My whole concept of teaching was to get involved,” Dan says. “I got in there and I got dirty with the students. We had textbooks and films to look at, but much of our time was out in the field.”

So it was, in a different capacity, with the Greenwich Land Trust, where given some overlap with his teaching he spent twenty-four years and held such titles as executive director and environmental director. “He really was the face and the heart of the land trust for many, many years,” says Ginny Gwynn, the current executive director. The group, which manages 733 acres in Greenwich, with some carryover into Stamford and New York state, is dedicated to the conservation of open space. Its properties, acquired through donations and conservation easements, range from salt marshes to meadows to woodlands.

They are places that Dan Barrett knows intimately from a quarter century of walking and overseeing the land. “I know where every corner is of every site,” he says. “I’ve done it so long that people used to laugh and say, ‘Well, what if you’re not here, who is going to know where the corner points are?’” GPS technology, it turns out, is taking over where Dan left off.

His projects, each one pursued with contagious enthusiasm, were legion. Dan helped in the acquisition of property for the land trust. He started keeping detailed notebooks (now on computer) for each of the group’s holdings, recording everything about the parcels and their upkeep. He revived historical apple orchards and in the process brought in beekeepers, schoolchildren, and others to take part and enjoy the bounty. He studied and spoke about the town’s stonewalls. He worked to restore woodcock habitat and the American chestnut. On another front, he helped establish the town’s Shellfish Commission and got the local shellfish beds reopened.

Longtime residents of Cos Cob, Dan and his wife, Cynthia, moved to Shelton recently. But Dan’s schedule seems as packed as ever. This winter, he took a tour of a 900-acre farm not far from his new home and was already working on a presentation about Shelton’s stonewalls. “I’ve been out and getting to know the terrain,” he reports. “I’ve been busy and getting busier as time goes by.”

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance's Go For Pink Shopping Event

    2014.10.02
     @ Greenwich Avenue area

    Breast Cancer Alliance announced that it is partnering with Greenwich merchants for a special day of events and shopping on Thursday, October 2nd...

  • New Goergen Lecture

    2014.10.02
     @ Bruce Museum

    Reflections on Highlights of the Hohenbuchau Collection featuring Peter C. Sutton Known today as the "Golden Age" of Netherlandish...

  • Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Are you ready for some MUDDY fun? Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is proud to host the 3rd annual Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun...

  • Muddy Up 5k & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Race starts at 9:15 a.m. REGISTRATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MON. SEPT. 29 at 8:00 A.M. DON'T LIKE THE MUD? SPONSOR A CLUB MEMBER TO RUN...

  • Sweat for a Cause

    2014.10.05
     @ SoulCycle Greenwich

    The Young Women's League of New Canaan (YWL) is sponsoring its first fundraiser of the season, "Sweat For A Cause" at SoulCycle...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Tuesday Toddler Tours

    2014.10.07
     @ Bruce Museum

    Come to the Bruce this fall to take part in our exciting new children and family programming! No advance registration is required and programs...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Lyme Research Alliance 3rd Annual Golf Tournament

    2014.10.09
     @ The Stanwich Club

    Tee up and raise funds & awareness for Lyme disease awareness at one of the area’s finest golf courses. The golf tournament is part of...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Annual Outdoor Arts Festival

    2014.10.11
     @ Bruce Museum

    There is plenty to discover on Columbus Day weekend, and this year much of it will be in Greenwich, on the grounds of the Bruce Museum.  On...

  • Outdoor Arts Festival

    2014.10.11
     @ Bruce Museum

    Come and enjoy the Bruce Museum’s 33rd Annual Outdoor Arts Festival. More than 85 artists from all over the country, many of them new to...

  • Lookbook Live Tour

    2014.10.12
     @ Westchester Mall

    In September + October 2014, Simon will team up with three of the world's top fashion magazines, Glamour, GQ, and  Vogue on a nationwide...


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