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Stories of Giving

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20 years of speakers honor volunteer naturalist

I want Mosquito Hill to be an inspiration to the entire community.

Back in 1994, Charlotte Bates Fenlon knew that before long cancer was going to end her life. As she thought about what she wanted as her memorial, she knew it had to benefit Mosquito Hill Nature Center in New London, Betty Winter, one of her fellow early volunteers at the nature center recalled.

“I want Mosquito Hill to be an inspiration to the entire community,” Betty remembered Charlotte saying. The mother of five and wife of Dr. Charles “Chick” Fenlon, died July 20, 1994, just days before her 65th birthday. She chose to be remembered through an endowment fund at the Community Foundation that would pay for annual speakers to educate Mosquito Hill volunteers and the public on nature topics.

The Charlotte Bates Fenlon Memorial Fund has supported the memorial speaker series for 20 years. It will celebrate the anniversary by presenting Jack Hanna as the 2015 fall speaker. Chick Fenlon died in 2010, but the Fenlon family continues to be heavily involved in advising the speaker series and attending the events.

It all started with wildlife adventurer Jim Fowler – the Jack Hanna of his day. Other speakers have included primate researcher Jane Goodall, wolf expert David Mech, whooping crane researcher and ultralight pilot Joe Duff, as well as explorers, birders, authors and various wildlife experts.