Margaret Anne Tockarshewsky, Executive Director, New Haven Museum
203-562-4183, ext. 20,

Julie Winkel, Media Specialist,


Explore New Haven’s Extraordinary Traprock Landscape

Virtually with NHM

New Haven, Conn. (February 4, 2021)– Forged by nature and sculpted by time, the lofty traprock ridges in New Haven and the Connecticut Valley create an extraordinary landscape that has been celebrated by artists, outdoor enthusiasts, and scientists for generations. Author, educator, and environmental scientist Peter M. LeTourneau, Ph. D. will share his insights, and the spectacular photography of Robert Pagini on Thursday, March 18, 2021, at 6 p.m., via Zoom. Register here. The New Haven Museum presentation is based on LeTourneau’s book, “The Traprock Landscapes of New England: Environment, History and Culture,” which is available at local bookstores and online.

A Connecticut native, LeTourneau was inspired at an early age by these ancient volcanic hills, once called “the boldest and most beautiful” landscapes of New England. He will share an insider’s view of the environment and culture of this unique region including local legends, “secret spots,” and little-known history. Tracing the influence of natural history on cultural development in the Connecticut Valley, he asserts that the rocky highlands are landscapes of national significance, where the combination of geology, geography, water resources, climate, and human settlement fostered vital developments in Early American science, education, agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and the creative arts.

LeTourneau will also discuss his efforts to establish a Connecticut Valley National Heritage Corridor, which he says would increase landscape, historic, and outdoor tourism; provide a federal umbrella for management of natural and historic resources; increase state visibility via federal recognition, and much more. He notes that urban and suburban expansion continues to nibble away at the trap-rock ridges. “A number of land trusts, ‘friends’ groups, associations, municipalities and state agencies have begun to restore trails, repair historic buildings, renovate monuments, and add increasingly scarce undeveloped parcels to existing conservation lands, but we need to establish a comprehensive management plan or central agency to coordinate the efforts on a regional basis.”

About Peter LeTourneau

LeTourneau is a research affiliate of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, and a visiting scholar in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University. His extensive studies on the geology, ecology, and history of the Connecticut Valley have been widely published, and he has presented numerous academic and public lectures on this fascinating region. His book, “The Traprock Landscapes of New England: Environment, History, and Culture,” (Wesleyan University Press, 2017) is acclaimed for its unique perspective on the historic landscapes of the Connecticut Valley. He holds graduate degrees in earth and environmental science from Columbia University and Wesleyan University. He was a founding member of the Geological Society of Connecticut, serving on the board of directors and as vice president. He is an avid birder and enjoys landscape painting.

About the New Haven Museum

The New Haven Museum has been collecting, preserving and interpreting the history and heritage of Greater New Haven since its inception as the New Haven Colony Historical Society in 1862. Located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Avenue, the Museum brings more than 375 years of New Haven history to life through its collections, exhibitions, programs and outreach. As a designated Blue Star Museum, the New Haven Museum offers the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, free admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For more information visit or or call 203-562-4183.


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