WESTON, Conn. -- Dick Ritzel of Easton is the new president of the Aspetuck Land Trust in Weston, the open space preservation organization has announced.
The group's board of directors unanimously approved Ritzel to lead the organization, which was founded in 1966, according to a press release from Aspetuck Land Trust. The trust owns or manages more than 1,700 acres of conserved open space in Easton, Fairfield, Weston and Westport, according to the release.
The board also announced at its meeting that outgoing president Patricia Falkenhagen, of Easton, would be honored with a hiking trail in her name at the Trout Brook Valley Preserve.
"Princie, as she is widely known, served continuously as president of the land trust since Jan. 30, 2007, a period of extensive growth in both conserved land and organizational membership," representatives said in the release. "Prior to joining the Board of Directors of Aspetuck Land Trust in 2002, she was long active as an environmental advocate in the town of Easton, where she and her husband Bob have lived since 1971.
"She was instrumental with others in preserving the 1,009-acre Trout Brook Valley Preserve, land once owned by a water utility company and destined to become a country club and enclave of luxury homes."
Representatives also noted that during Falkenhagen's tenure, the land trust added the 39-acre Newman Poses Preserve in Westport and the 34-acre Randall's Farm Nature Preserve in Easton and that membership grew to more than 1,000 people, according to the release.
“My hope for the future of Aspetuck Land Trust is that we can continue to preserve whatever significant tracts of land that are left in our four towns, especially contiguous pieces of property, scenic roadsides that protect our views, local farms or whatever comes our way,” Falkenhagen said in the release.
Ritzel, a retired banker, joined the land trust’s Board of Directors in 2005.
“The open space resource of Trout Brook Valley has been an active part of the lifestyle my wife, Jan, and I and our two sons have long enjoyed,” Ritzel said in the release.
The board also elected other officers at its latest meeting, including vice president of Land Acquisitions Heather Williams, vice president of Land Management Lisa Brodlie, vice president of finance Alan Goldbecker, vice president of fundraising Grayson Braun, vice president of marketing and communications Nancy Moon of Fairfield and secretary Cynthia Williams.
For more information, visit the Aspetuck Land Trust website.