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Whose Effort Created This Wild Flower Sanctuary?

The Wild Flower Sanctuary’s Beginning

For years I have made several visits to the Wild Flower Sanctuary and Nature Center at Greenwich, Connecticut. This Wild Flower Sanctuary was created through the efforts of Benjamin T. Fairchild who was born at Stratford, Connecticut, in 1859. During his early years he was greatly interested in natural history. Later, he became an ardent hunter and fisherman.

In 1895, Mr. Fairchild planned to buy an old abandoned farm with the intention of stocking it with game and fish. After traveling through many sections of Connecticut by horse and buggy, seeking the ideal location, he finally chose a run-down farm on Quaker Ridge, near Greenwich, and bought several hundred acres. Here his early love of nature reasserted itself and he decided to give up hunting and fishing, devoting himself to developing this old place into a wild garden which would contain all the flowers, shrubs and trees indigenous to Connecticut.

With loving care he helped Nature along in many ways and made this varied terrain of hill, meadow and swamp accessible by building several miles of road. He opened up interesting vistas and established many additional native species. Many more lady’s-slippers and trilliums were planted in strategic locations against stump and rock backgrounds where they could be seen and enjoyed by the visitor. In this work Mr. Fairchild was ably assisted until his death by Russell Jones, who worked with him for many years. Mr. Jones was the guardian of the sanctuary and knew all the plants, shrubs and trees by name.

The garden’s perpetuation. In 1945, through the good offices of the Greenwich Garden Club represented by Mrs. Elon H. Hooker, this lovely tract was secured for the National Audubon Society to be administered in connection with their adjacent Nature Center. It has been dedicated in perpetuity as a wild flower sanctuary and is open to the public for the edification and pleasure of all who love our native wild flowers and who will abide by the rules of the Nature Center. This means learn, love and leave for others to enjoy. It is located on the Riversville Road on Quaker Ridge, a short distance north of Porchuck Road, about five or six miles from Greenwich.

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