National Garden Club, Inc, Award of Excellence

27 May 2022

Donna Marie Donnelly
Award of Excellence Chairman

Nonprofit in Cornwall, Connecticut receives prestigious award.
Housatonic Valley Association receives Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs, Inc.

The members of National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC) recently honored The Housatonic Valley Association with their prestigious Award of Excellence, the highest award presented by NGC to a non-member. The Award of Excellence honors an individual, organization or institution that has made a significant contribution toward the advancement of goals and purposes of National Garden Clubs, Inc

The Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) was founded in 1941 in Cornwall Bridge Connecticut. Lynn Werner, Executive Director, heads this water, land and recreation conservation nonprofit organization. Its mission is to protect the natural character, environmental health, and economies of the Housatonic River Valley watershed for present and future generations. The Housatonic River Valley boasts world-class fishing, biking, hiking, paddling, history and sightseeing. The source of the watershed starts in the Berkshire Mountains and stretches 149-miles across Connecticut, culminating in the tidal marshes of Long Island Sound. It includes mountain waterfalls, rolling hills, covered bridges and a section of the Appalachian Trail. The HVA is one of the oldest watershed conservation organizations in the nation!

As Executive Director, Werner oversees the day-to-day management of the association including collaborating with individuals, groups and agencies with the goal of maintaining a healthy river system. HVA is recognized across the region as an effective, efficient, and science-based organization.

Some of HVA’s accomplishments:

• Restored the Furnace Brook Fishway in the town of Cornwall that allowed trout to swim upstream to spawn for the first time in 20 years.
• Demanded General Electric and the Environmental Protection Agency clean up the PCBs in the watershed system.
• Created the RiverSmart campaign to study the impact of polluted runoff and how to reduce it.
• Successfully fought to reroute a natural gas pipeline away from the watershed.
• Stopped a superhighway route through the scenic ridgeline and saved 6,000 acres of river valley from developers.
• Launched ‘Follow the Forest’ to emphasize the need for a wildlife corridor.
• Conduct educational programs for kindergarten to high school students on biology, ecology and chemistry of the watershed.
• Offers free paddling workshops for families.
• Plans hikes for naturalists, scientists, and historians.

Werner is excited to say that due to the Housatonic Valley Association’s conservation efforts, the residents in Connecticut enjoy 100,000 recreational acres for playing outdoors.

About National Garden Clubs, Inc.

National Garden Clubs, Inc. currently has over 5000 local clubs, with 145,000 members, and over 330 international affiliates. The organization provides education, resources, and national networking opportunities for its members to promote the love of gardening, floral design, civic, and environmental responsibility. Learn more about National Garden Clubs, Inc. at
Lynn Werner’s picture is located at

Donna Marie
Donna Marie Donnelly
National Garden Clubs, Inc.
Third Vice President