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Angle Fly Honors Somers Luminaries

Somers Land Trust hosted dedication ceremony at Angle Fly Preserve Sept. 15.

The Somers Land Trust honored the memory of three town luminaries and a builder who helped envision the Angle Fly Preserve at a dedication ceremony Sept. 15. 

Board President Michael Barnhart welcomed more than 30 guests to the event at 10 a.m. Saturday morning that included plaque dedications for The Mickey Oliver Habitat Restoration Area at the entrance of the preserve, The Peter A. Burckmyer Trail at the beginning of the yellow trail, and The John L. Behler Footbridge. Con-Tech Construction Technologies was also honored with a plaque for its construction of the slate patio and sitting wall.

Oliver, Burckmyer and Behler were each remembered for the contributions they made to Angle Fly Preserve and the dedication with which they applied their expertise to preserving the land.

Oliver was the famed town historian who understood the historical significance of the land and its structures; Burckmyer helped form the preserve from disparate pieces; and Behler, a famed herpetologist, identified an endangered turtle species and helped secure the land from development. 

The Land Trust plans to restore the Reynolds Farmstead and habitat in honor of Oliver, and grow the use of the land for educational programs and recreation. 

The dedication ceremony drew family members and friends, as well as volunteers. Oliver's daughters, Elizabeth Oliver and Jeanie Harris, traveled from New Finland and Annapolis, MD, respectively. "I am speechless," said Harris. "I just wish she were here."  

Grace Zimmerman, Somers Historical Society vice president, called Oliver a "cheerleader for history in this town." Barnhart described Oliver as a, "living record of the town. Her institutional memory was so big I don't think well ever be able to replace it."

Somers Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy attended the event and noted that "so much of the good" in town happens through volunteerism.

The Land Trust plans to restore native plants to the farm house area, clear more invasive plants, and plant trees. To volunteer in upcoming Angle Fly Preserve projects, visit the website: www.somerslandtrust.org/angle-fly-preserve.

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