A River Runs through It: Exploring the many facets of the Connecticut River & environs (Class Full, Registration Closed)

Discover a watershed of flora, fauna, human ambition and natural wonder

This course will develop an understanding of the relationship between nature and humans on and near the Connecticut River. It will consider geological, archeological, anthropological, historical, socio-economic and environmental aspects of the river’s significance. Included will be: the geological beginnings of the river and the arrival of people to its waters and lands; the changes wrought by Europeans on the lives of Indigenous people; the watershed’s flora and fauna; the river's daily ebb-and-flow; and the river’s role in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. We will look at how the transformation from an agrarian to an industrial society affected the river, with a focus on the advent of steamboats and the contamination caused by factories, dumps, and waste systems. We will chart changes to the river in the 20th and 21st centuries, examining the transition from “the best landscaped sewer in the world” to an increasingly clean natural resource.

The first four classes will be held via Zoom. Class 5 will take place aboard the Riverquest (E. Haddam) where we will recapitulate key points of the course and see some of the places where events discussed in class actually happened. The cruise will serve as an opportunity for participants to enjoy the experiential magic that transforms the world into a classroom. The CT River cruise is scheduled for June 5th, departing the dock at 12pm, returning at 4pm. We will be leaving from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. A 1-hour wine reception will follow on the Gelston House deck, with a spacial guest in attendance.


Instructor: Renwick ('Wick') Griswold

Date: Mondays, May 3-May 24 via Zoom. Riverquest guided tour (leaving from E. Haddam dock, opposite Goodspeed Opera House), June 5, 2021, 12-4pm.

Time: 4:00-5:30 pm 

Cost: $95