Dennis O’Connell of Wellfleet receives Ansel B. Chaplin Award

(left to right) Peter Johnson, Dennis O’Connell, Mark Robinson, Leonard Johnson. Denny holds the Ansel B. Chaplin Award.

At the 31st annual meeting of The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc., held on August 28, 2017 with the Orleans Conservation Trust, Wellfleet Conservation Trust President R. Dennis O’Connell received the Ansel B. Chaplin Award for his “excellence in open space protection on Cape Cod.”  Last year’s recipient Peter Johnson of the Brewster Conservation Trust presented the award to his fellow former Ohio Valley League college lacrosse player.

Denny O’Connell is a life-long Wellfleet devotee.  He has traveled worldwide as a  financial executive and business consultant, but Wellfleet is his safe harbor. . He has traveled worldwide as a business consultant, but Wellfleet is always home. The late Robert Hankey had sought out Denny’s father, hoping he might agree to serve on the board of the Wellfleet Conservation Trust. Denny’s dad said no, but you should recruit my son! It was a good call, Denny has served on the WCT board since 1999 and as its president since 2004. In that time, he has provided vision and determination to round up major new parcels for conservation. One of his favorites is the Head of Duck Creek, where a dilapidated house was removed and the land restored as nesting habitat for the rare diamondback terrapin, within sight of downtown. Under Denny’s leadership, WCT has attracted multiple State grants for open space purchases and he has made partnerships with the Town a standard operating procedure for WCT. Denny is known for his “love of the land” in his hometown and has served faithfully on the Planning Board and other local committees. He likes mentoring young AmeriCorps members who have helped WCT in recent years. As one admirer says, “He inspires us all!”  For more on Denny’s great work, click here.

Peter Johnson presents the Chaplin Award to Denny O’Connell, after a reminisce about college lacrosse days

The Compact’s member organizations also elected officers for the coming twelve months: President – Leonard W. Johnson of Falmouth; Vice-President – Colin A. Leonard of Harwich; Second Vice President – Jaci Barton of Barnstable; Second Vice-President – R. Dennis O’Connell of Wellfleet; Treasurer – Henry Lind of Eastham; Clerk –  Wendi Buesseler of Falmouth.

Compact President Leonard Johnson asked for a moment of silence to honor the memory of Compact founder Ansel Chaplin of Truro who passed away in January.  We were pleased to have his widow Anne Kenney Chaplin attend the meeting.

The Compact’s Executive Director Mark Robinson gave the keynote speech about two conservation things that keep him up at night.  If you want to know what they are and you were not there, you will have to ask him!

The Compact now includes 20 local and regional land trusts and six watershed and advocacy organizations.  The combined membership of these groups is more than 10,000 people.

Mark Robinson, Executive Director of The Compact since 1986 (left), and Leonard Johnson of Falmouth, President of The Compact since 2015. At the 2017 Annual Meeting of The Compact in Orleans MA


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