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The Friends

Who we are

In 1995, a coalition of concerned outdoorsmen, sportsmen, environmentalists, and citizens banded together to form the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park, Inc. Its stated purpose:

  • to preserve, maintain, improve and enhance Sherwood Island State Park for the benefit of the general public;
  • to solicit and raise funds;
  • to educate the public about the resources, needs and value of the park and carry on any activities consistent with its classification as a 501(c)(3) not-for profit corporation.

Officers and Board Members

Our major commitment: the new Nature Center

The Friends have always been committed to supporting a Nature Center in the park. For many years, that support was directed toward a small Center behind the West Beach.

When it was deemed structurally unsound in 2002 and slated for demolition, the Friends vowed to devote all their fundraising efforts to constructing a new one.

In 2009, the new Nature Center behind the East Beach opened. It was built by a public-private partnership between the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park. The commitment to it will continue in the years to come.

How the Nature Center came to be

August 12 2009 – Sherwood Island Nature Center Day

At the official opening of the Nature Center, DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette, Acting Commissioner Amey Marrella, Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, DEEP Supervisor Mark Rickert, Friends President Sheila O’Neill.

The Friends and the International Coastal Cleanup

What else we’ve done

  • Worked with State legislators to maximize State 2010 Plan support of replacement of bathhouses and the park entrance.
  • Collaborated with the Long Island Sound Fund in a major dune restoration project utilizing native plant material, boardwalks to protect ecologically fragile areas and appropriate signage to educate visitors concerning dune ecology.
  • Purchased two major equipment upgrades to facilitate better park maintenance.
  • Co-sponsored community efforts to enhance park premises, e.g. Key Club, Cub and Boy Scout clean-ups, plantings and Eagle Scout projects, Church and Seniors Group Community Service Projects.
  • Initiated an outreach campaign to surrounding communities to acquaint them with the park’s features and opportunities.
  • Planned and implemented a Butterfly Garden for Urban Children through a grant of $500 by Newman’s Own.
  • Nature trail and marker maintenance, printing and updating the self-guided birding guide.
  • DEEP GreenCircle Awards have been presented to Friends of Sherwood Island State Park and to Hope Hageman.