Aspetuck Land Trust announces new leadership team

Aspetuck Land Trust’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved the election of Dick Ritzel of Easton as the new president of the open space preservation organization founded in 1966. The trust owns or manages more than 1,700 acres of conserved open space in Easton, Fairfield, Weston and Westport.

At the board’s most recent meeting, it was also announced that in recognition of her years of service, a hiking trail in the Trout Brook Valley Preserve would be named in honor of outgoing president Patricia “Princie” Falkenhagen of Easton. She served continuously as president of the land trust since Jan. 30, 2007, a period of extensive growth in both conserved land and organizational membership.

Prior to joining the Board of Directors of Aspetuck Land Trust in 2002, Falkenhagen was long active as an environmental advocate in Easton where she and her husband, Bob, have lived since 1971. She was instrumental with others in preserving the 1,009 acre Trout Brook Valley Preserve, land once owned by a water utility company and destined to become a country club and enclave of luxury homes.

During Falkenhagen’s tenure, the land trust added the 39-acre Newman Poses Preserve in Westport and the 34-acre Randall’s Farm Nature Preserve in Easton, among other properties. Membership expanded to include more than 1,000 people from the area who support the organization through annual membership contributions.

“My hope for the future of Aspetuck Land Trust is that we can continue to preserve whatever significant tracts of land that are left in our four towns, especially contiguous pieces of property, scenic roadsides that protect our views, local farms or whatever comes our way,” Falkenhagen said.

Dick Ritzel, a retired banker, joined the land trust’s Board of Directors in 2005. An Easton resident since 1978, he lives near the Crow Hill Preserve.

“The open space resource of Trout Brook Valley has been an active part of the lifestyle my wife, Jan, and I and our two sons have long enjoyed,” he said.

Other officers elected at the July 30 land trust meeting include Vice President of Land Acquisitions Heather Williams of Westport; Vice President of Land Management Lisa Brodlie of Weston; Vice President of Finance Alan Goldbecker of Easton; Vice President of Fund-raising Grayson Braun of Westport, Vice President of Marketing and Communications Nancy Moon of Fairfield and Secretary Cynthia Williams of Weston.

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