HARTFORD, CT, AUGUST 12, 2009. The Connecticut River Watershed Council’s August 30th Annual Meeting will feature David K. Leff, author of The Last Undiscovered Place, as keynote speaker at the Greater Hartford Jaycees Community Boathouse on the banks of New England’s great river. The Sunday meeting from 2 – 4 pm is free and open to the public. The gathering will also offer a pre-meeting paddling trip, as well as CRC staff and board presentations, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction at the Riverfront Recapture site.

“We’re honored to have a writer and conservationist of David Leff’s caliber address our meeting,” says CRC Executive Director Chelsea Gwyther, noting that the gathering will also serve as a fundraiser, “There will be opportunities for new members to sign up, and old members to renew their memberships and commitments to helping the Connecticut River.” Gwyther says those reserving space early can sign up for a 2-hour paddle past Hartford’s urban parkland and upstream along the river’s forested banks with John and Wendy Sinton, co-authors along with Elizabeth Farnsworth, of The Connecticut River Boating Guide: Source to Sea. The downstream trip segment will offer fine views of the Hartford skyline.

Keynote speaker David Leff’s new book, Deep Travel, was recently released by the University of Iowa Press. An avid outdoorsman, Leff served as CT DEP’s Deputy Commissioner from 1995 – 2006, working on open space and fisheries and wildlife conservation issues. The Last Undiscovered Place is his homage to the history and environment he’s uncovered in Collinsville, CT, where he’s lived with his family for many years. The author has received numerous awards for his volunteer service and conservation work. Leff’s first volume of poetry The Price of Water, was published in 2008.

CRC members and the public must pre-register for the annual meeting in order to participate in the 2-hour paddling trip, which meets at the Jaycees Boathouse at 11:00 am. Several kayaks will be available, free, to those who register early. Paddlers providing their own watercraft must have PFDs. For registration and further information phone: (413) 772-2020, ex. 207, or email Alan Morgan at amorgan@ctriver.org.

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

Covanta Energy Corporation, operator of a waste-to-energy plant at West Springfield, MA, is the lead sponsor of CRC’s annual meeting.