Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center will present the inaugural Maggie Jones Environmental Hero Award on September 22 at the organization’s annual Green-Tie Celebration.

Maggie Jones, director emeritus, will be honored as the first recipient of the award bearing her name. Jones served as director of DPNC for 27 years, during a time of significant growth and maturation for the organization. One of the most significant of Jones’ many accomplishments at DPNC was working with the Trust for Public Land and other organizations to permanently protect Mystic’s historic Coogan Farm property from development. The now protected Coogan acreage was a key link in creating a greenway that today extends, west to east, from Pequot Woods and the Peace Sanctuary in Groton to Coogan, Denison and Avalonia Land Conservancy lands to the Copp’s Brook watershed. 

“It’s fitting that we honor Maggie’s environmental heroism with this award on the tenth anniversary of the acquisition of Coogan Farm,” notes DPNC Board Chair Karen Stone. “Maggie inspired our community to come together to save Coogan Farm as a nature preserve open to all, protecting wildlife and watersheds and highlighting the natural and cultural history of the land.” 

Along with the acquisition of Coogan Farm, Jones worked to establish the Giving Garden (rededicated as the Craig Floyd Giving Garden in 2023) and led efforts to renovate the property’s John E. Avery Farmhouse and reconstruction of the building known today as the Jules X. Schneider Nature and Arts Barn.

Coogan Farm, linked to the original DPNC campus by a series of trails, was visualized by Jones as an expansion of the Nature Center’s mission “to inspire an understanding of the natural world and ourselves as part of it – past, present and future.” 

Jones says of the monumental project, “In the simplest of terms, it’s about ensuring people have a place to be outside and connect with nature. Saving this piece of the Connecticut shoreline was essential as a buffer to the surrounding development, and it continues to be a place to educate and inspire.”

DPNC’s Green-Tie Celebration, featuring the Maggie Jones Environmental Hero Award, will be held at Coogan Farm on Friday, September 22 from 6 to 8:30 pm. Tickets for the event and award ceremony honoring Jones are available at