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Earth Day Times Two at Killingworth’s Deer Lake

By Clark Judge

(April 19, 2024) — Sometimes an event is so notable that it’s worth staging again. And sometimes it’s so notable that it’s worth staging again and again. Maybe that’s why the second annual Earth Day celebration at Deer Lake this month will be held not once … but twice.

True story.

The first date is Saturday, April 20, 2024, and if that sounds familiar, it should. A town-wide celebration will take place throughout Killingworth then, with Deer Lake among the attractions. But then there’s a second observance at Deer Lake, only this time one week later on Saturday, April 27, 2024, with the 253-property the site of activities from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“We’re doing one for Killingworth’s effort for Earth Day,” explained Mike Doraz, events coordinator for Pathfinders, Inc., the local non-profit that owns Deer Lake, “and then we’re having our Earth Day event, which we primarily planned at the beginning of the year. It’s basically two different events. One is for the town of Killingworth, and the other is ours.”

And the cost? There isn’t one. Both Deer Lake events are free and open to the public.

Of course, that was true a year ago when Deer Lake was part of a 2023 Earth Day gala coordinated by the Killingworth Women’s Organization (KWO). At that time, Pathfinders offered guided hikes, a scavenger hunt, information booths, vendors and a two-hour demonstration by A Place Called Hope, a local rehabilitation and education center for birds of prey.

Prior commitments at Deer Lake keep it from hosting an encore performance this weekend, but Deer Lake still will participate – offering guided and unguided hikes on seven miles of trails, as well as another scavenger hunt. One week later, however, Pathfinders will launch the second half of its doubleheader celebration on April 27th, with a more complete Earth Day program that will include the following:


  • Peace Love Books.
  • The New Haven Bird Club.
  • Deer Lake Day Camp.
  • The Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp.
  • The Shoreline Astronomical Society.
  • The Eckerd College Microplastics Project.
  • The Sound School.
  • Harbro-Auto Sales and Action Trackchair.
  • What to know about bees.
  • A DEEP fishing program (1:00 4:00 p.m.)
  • Silent auction results (4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

Only the fishing and silent auction are time sensitive. The remaining groups or demonstrations will be on site from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

But that’s not all. In addition, there will be live music throughout the day, guided and unguided hikes and a barbecue lunch for sale. In short, it’s an encore celebration of Earth Day, only this time with Deer Lake holding center stage.

The events mark the first public celebrations at Deer Lake since Pathfinders last month announced it retired all debts from its $4.75-million purchase of the property in September, 2022. Thanks to contributions from more than 1,400 donors from 87 Connecticut towns, 34 states and five countries, Pathfinders now owns the former Boy Scout reservation outright.

“This community” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal at a March news conference, “has given us a lesson on how activism and advocates make a difference. And we owe you.”

Photos by Clark Judge

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