The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center bought its new used van on Wednesday July 16 from Valenti Auto Mall in Mystic, thanks to the generosity of the community.

The Nature Center’s mini van, which is used to transport staff, animals and equipment to outreach programs around eastern Connecticut, was on its last legs. Two weeks ago, the Nature Center put out an appeal to the community for donations. Rob Valenti, owner of the Valenti dealership, offered the Nature Center a 2007 Chrysler mini van in good condition with 39,000 miles on it, and made a generous donation as part of the package. The Nature Center needed to come up with $2,700 to close the deal.

The community responded immediately to the call for help, and to date more than $4,000 has been raised.

The largest single donor is Mark Adams, owner of Sea Swirl.

“We are a piece of the fabric of the community and so is the Nature Center,” said Adams. “This was a great opportunity for us to help.”

Valenti said he was pleased to be able to make a donation to help the deal happen. “We like to support the community and the Nature Center,” he said. “We have a long history with the Nature Center; my mother still volunteers there.”

Maggie Jones, executive director of the Nature Center, thanked Valenti, Adams, and all the individuals who gave so quickly to help the Nature Center remain able to provide its many off-site programs.

“This is so wonderful, because the Nature Center is physically connected to both Valenti’s and the Sea Swirl,” Jones noted. “The Pequotsepos Brook, which runs through the Nature Center, runs past Valenti’s and then empties into Mystic Harbor right next to the Sea Swirl on Route 1.”

Jones noted that the remainder of the donations will be put into an account for the purchase of a fuel-efficient small car, which the Nature Center also needs.

Valenti Auto Mall:

Sea Swirl:

Photo caption: From left, Rob Valenti, owner of Valenti Auto Mall in Mystic, Maggie Jones, executive director of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, and Mark Adams, owner of Sea Swirl in Mystic. Credit: DPNC