October 21, 2009

Canonchet clean up a strong community effort

As printed in the Narragansett Times, and the South County Independent, October 14 & 15, 2009

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my gratitude for the volunteers who are painstakingly working to clear the asphalt debris from the beech tree grove at Canonchet Farm. Last Friday was the second of three scheduled days spent working in the grove, but my first.

What started for me as an interest in helping to restore a natural resource I had occasionally enjoyed in solitude quickly became an intimate engagement with not only a place, but the community that has shepherded it through difficult times.

The mishap that brought us there seemed irrelevant as I joined in with residents and town employees all working together. Using an assortment of rakes, shovels and even a broom at times, roughly 25 people moved with purpose in and around the grove, removing the rubble of the former tennis court one shovelful at a time. Wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, the history of the former farm was unearthed, in stories and in stone. I had only heard of the Friends of Canonchet before my arrival that morning, but I have formed new relationships with both the place and the people who toil to keep it beautiful. Of course, there is much more work to do – and I encourage anyone with an hour or two, and a pair of work gloves, to show up on the next work day (Saturday, October 24th) and lend a hand to restore not only the grove, but a piece of history and maybe even your own connection to this beautiful place.

Teresa Tanzi