In 1614, Dutch explorers explored the Connecticut River. They built a small fort which they soon abandoned as English settlers moved into the area in increasing numbers in 1633. These settlers had been attracted to the area by the excellent reports they got from some of their members. In 1638-39, representatives of the three Connecticut River towns- Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield- met at Hartford and formed the colony of Connecticut. They also adopted the fundamental orders, which established a government for the colony. Connecticut’s population expanded gradually. Connecticut played a prominent role in the Revolutionary War, serving as the Continental Army’s major supplier. Sometimes called the ‘Arsenal of the Nation’, the state became one of the most industrialized in the nation.
Connecticut has an impressive diversity of vegetation zones. The state’s hillsides and uplands support a variety of flowers and plants, like the mountain laurel, pink azalea, trailing arbutus, Solomon’s seal, along with ferns, cattails, cranberry, sweet pepperbush and spicebush.
The land is also teeming with wildlife. Roaming the forests and meadows were black bear, white-tailed deer, red and gray foxes, timber wolf, cougar, panther, raccoon, and enough rattlesnakes to pose a serious danger. Fresh water fish are abundant, and common birds include the robin, song sparrow, wood thrush, snowy owl and winter wren.
Seventeen animal species were listed as threatened or endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and among these were 5 kinds of sea turtles, the bald eagle, two species of whale, and the gray wolf.
The state has made a strong commitment to environmental protection and conservation through innovative initiatives and individual effort in terms of statewide plans and contracts to manage debris; reducing toxicity of packaging that enters the solid waste stream, and ultimately the environment; developing ‘green’ real estate nationwide with green and affordable apartment buildings; development and successful implementation of major water quality programs. Connecticut Disaster Debris Plan Team, Connecticut Section of American Water Works Association, Connecticut Department of Public Health, The Clearinghouse, Jonathan Rose Companies, and other such government and private bodies are taking prompt actions while maintaining important environmental standards that have served the state well. The state is creating green investment opportunities in the areas of energy efficiency, clean energy, transportation, agriculture, historic preservation, and natural resource protection.