Keney Park Meadow, ca. early 1900s

Keney Park Meadow, ca. early 1900s – City Park Collection, Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library

Connecticut’s natural environment—from its flora and fauna to its waterways, soil, and geological formations—has played a vital, if not always appreciated, role in state history. Shad migrations, for example, not only influenced indigenous and colonial cultures, they still inspire town celebrations and local foodways. Ore deposits determined where industries would rise, as was the case with the Salisbury Iron District, and abundant water power made the industrial heyday of the 1800s possible. Depletion, pollution, and other man-made tolls on the environment inspired conservation efforts, including the multi-state effort that led the Connecticut River to be designated an American Heritage River in 1997.


Roger Tory Peterson, European starlings

Artist Roger Tory Peterson, a Champion for the Natural World

Artist, author, and influential conservationist Roger Tory Peterson pioneered the modern age of bird watching with his 1934 book, A Field Guide to the Birds. …[more]

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Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. “Listing of State Parks.” Accessed June 21, 2012. Link.


Connecticut. Deptartment of Environmental Protection. Earth Day 40 Connecticut’s Environment: Past, Present and Future. DVD, 2010. Link.


“Connecticut Museum of Mining and Mineral Science,” n.d. Link.
“Connecticut State Museum of Natural History,” 2016. Link.
“Yale Peabody Museum,” 2016. Link.


“Connecticut State Parks: A Centennial Overview.” Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection: State Park Division, 2014. Link.


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Griswold, Wick. A History of the Connecticut River. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2012.
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Cronon, William, and John Demos. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 2003.
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Hammerson, Geoffrey A. Connecticut Wildlife: Biodiversity, Natural History, and Conservation. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2004.
Virga, Vincent, Diana Ross McCain, and Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Connecticut, Mapping the Nutmeg State Through History: Rare and Unusual Maps from the Library of Congress. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2011.
Hawes, Austin F. History of Forestry in Connecticut. New Haven, CT: The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 2014. Link.
Zeilinga de Boer, Jelle, and John Wareham. New Haven’s Sentinels: The Art and Science of East Rock and West Rock. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2013.
Zeilinga de Boer, Jelle. Stories in Stone How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.
Bowen, Clarence Winthrop. The Boundary Disputes of Connecticut. Boston, MA: James R. Osgood and Company, 1882. Link.
Hard, Walter R., Douglas W. Gorsline, and Fitzgerald Rivers of America Collection (Library of Congress). The Connecticut. New York, NY: Rinehart & Company, 1947.
Delaney, Edmund T. The Connecticut River: New England’s Historic Waterway. Chester, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 1983.
Bell, Michael. The Face of Connecticut: People, Geology, and the Land. Hartford, CT: State Geological and Natural History Society of Connecticut, 1988.
Alexopoulos, John. The Nineteenth Century Parks of Hartford: A Legacy of the Nation. Hartford, CT: Hartford Architecture Conservancy, 1983.
Wetherell, Diana V. Traprock Ridges of Connecticut: A Naturalist’s Guide. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection, 1997.