Greenfield, MA August 21, 2009. Fundraising has taken a new turn at the Connecticut River Watershed Council, “Each year we hold an on-line auction in tandem with our annual meeting,” says Richard Ewald, Director of Planning and Development, “While preparing for this year’s meeting we turned up two items at our office that are unique to the Valley.” One is a fine-art etching of a Springfield, MA architectural icon, the Memorial Bridge, and the other is an out-of-print 20th century tome detailing the natural history of the birds of the Connecticut River Valley.

Ewald discovered the first item by accident, “I was rummaging around for a map when I came upon this plastic tube and peeked at the contents.” What the tube contained was Vermont artist Wolf Kahn’s 1982 etching “Memorial Bridge, Springfield II,” depicting the 1922 concrete arch bridge that spans the Connecticut at Springfield. Despite extensive work in black-and-white, Kahn’s international reputation is based largely on colorful oils and pastels depicting rural landscapes in an abstract impressionist style. This signed and numbered etching is a rarity, donated to the Council over two decades back.

The other unusual offering came straight out of CRWC’s library, a little-used copy of the 1937 “Birds of the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts,” an exhaustive 813-page record of species documented here during the 1920s and 1930s, with historical accounts reaching back well into the 19th century. Two noted, early Valley naturalists – Aaron Clark Bagg and Samuel Atkins Eliot Jr. – put a decade of research and writing into the project. Now out of print, the book includes illustrations by Roger Tory Peterson and a color print, “Mt. Tom Duck Hawk,” painted by Louis Agassiz Fuertes.

Duck hawks–today known as peregrine falcons, subsequently disappeared in the Connecticut Valley due to the effects of DDT. But they were reintroduced here, as elsewhere, under endangered species protections. Since the 1980’s, “duck hawks” again nest regularly in the Springfield vicinity—including random years when they have hidden their nests on the shelving beneath the Springfield Memorial Bridge. “These are unique items we feel should circulate beyond the confines of an office setting. They give this year’s fundraising effort a decidedly Connecticut River Valley flavor,” Ewald says.

Bidding in the Council’s on-line auction–including paddling, sailing, hot-air balloon trips, and a guided fly-fishing day, among other items, concludes August 28th. A brief silent-bidding period will conclude the auction at the Council’s annual meeting from 2-4 pm on Sunday August 30th at the Greater Hartford Jaycees Community Boat House. To view the Wolf Kahn print, the Agassiz “duck hawk,” the annual meeting and all action items, go to www.ctriver.org.

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For press information contact: Richard Ewald, Planning and Development Director, at: (413) 772-2020, ext. 206, rewald@ctriver.org; or Chelsea Gwyther, Executive Director: (413) 772-2020, ext. 202, (413) 658-8552 cell, or cgwyther@ctriver.org.