STONINGTON — Maggie Jones, who has served as executive director of the Mystic Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center for 27 years, is stepping down and has been named executive director emeritus. Davnet Conway Schaffer, longtime senior director of operations and preschool director, has taken over as executive director, according to a press release.
Under Jones’ leadership, in 2013 the Nature Center acquired and preserved the 34-acre Coogan Farm property on Route 27 in Mystic. The environmentally critical greenway ensures that watersheds and wildlife are protected through a large swath of Mystic, in the midst of a current boom of development.
Coogan Farm’s Giving Garden has also become an important resource for the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut’s Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Bank, growing and donating several tons of fresh produce to thousands of New London County residents every year.
As executive director emeritus, Jones said she will continue to stay involved in the center by serving as a resource “to continue nurturing the center’s growth, programs and relevance to the community,” according to the press release.
Conway Schaffer said she looks forward to continuing the Nature Center’s mission with her team of administrators, educators, and animal curators.
“I have had the privilege of working with Maggie and the staff at DPNC for more than 17 years, collaborating and developing some of DPNC’s most beloved programs including creation of the nature-based preschool,” Schaffer said in the press release.
“We are grateful for Maggie’s dedication to the Nature Center’s mission over so many years,” said Hillary Hardaway, president of the Board of Trustees. “Her passion for our region’s nature and wildlife and teaching others has helped the center grow and connect with the community.”
The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic has provided visitors and community the opportunity to experience nature first hand in year-round programs for all ages and interests since 1946 and features more than 10 miles of diverse trails and walks through, woodlands, wetlands and meadows connecting the main facility and Coogan Farm.