THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE BENNETT WOOD STEWARDSHIP FUND
Ben Wood was a Mianus Chapter intern who tragically died in February at the age of 23.
Following his death, Ben's family created the Bennett Wood Stewardship Fund at the chapter to support important river restoration and internship work for decades to come. More than $50,000 has already been raised and to date more than 1,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted in his memory!
We are forever grateful to Ben, and to the Wood family, for the work that will continue for years to come to restore this and other rivers in our area.
An avid angler and a biology and environmental studies major from Fairfield University, Ben had a deep interest in river health and had been studying the water quality in the Naugatuck River as part of a school research project. He wanted to do more, and jumped at every chance to help Mianus TU. He cleared vines and invasive plants along the river, helped plant and water new trees to shade and stabilize the streambank and attended a ton of chapter fishing trips too!
As summer approached in 2015, Ben reached out to see if there was more he could do for the chapter, and for TU. A summer internship would allow him to help our rivers and earn school credit. In just a few short months in the summer and fall, Ben went from a willing volunteer intern to a conservation project leader.
He spent several weeks in the Catskills of New York hiking up steep ravines and down slippery streambanks to measure, assess and inspect over 60 road crossings on small, wild trout streams in the legendary Willowemoc River watershed with staff from TU national. These road crossings often have culverts rather than bridges - and most culverts prevent trout from moving upstream or downstream to spawn or survive the hot summer months. Thanks to Ben’s work, TU is able to prioritize these culverts and plan for their removal.
His internship project could have ended successfully right then and there, but Ben found other ways to stay involved.
He jumped at the opportunity to help the Mianus Chapter plan a major restoration project on the Norwalk River at the Wilton YMCA and provided the legwork needed to map the site, plan out the restoration and build the project planning documents needed to gain landowner permission and town agency permits and approval. (This project was completed in October 2016 - the first project funded with the stewardship fund set up to honor Ben's memory.)
Ben’s legacy of stream restoration will continue for decades to come thanks to the Bennett Wood Stewardship Fund.