On Friday, May 17, 2019, First Selectman James Cosgrove and the Town of Branford formally recognized the 13th annual Endangered Species Day and took action to protect threatened species and preserve biodiversity.

The town planted a Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha), America's first "rare tree," on Branford's Town Green. The tree was first discovered in 1765 by legendary botanist and plantsman John Bartram and his son William, and named in honor of their good friend, Ben Franklin. The tree is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, and is extinct in the wild. The Franklin tree has been said to be the most romantic of any Native American plant species with a very mysterious past. Its flowers are famously large, bloom from July through October, and have very active nectaries that radiate a delightful fragrance and support keystone pollinator species.

The project was spearheaded by towns Inland Wetlands Staff, David E. McCarthy, and unanimously endorsed by the Town’s Environmental Departments, Commissions, and Committees.

“This is an example of the town’s commitment to protecting and restoring our natural habitats," said first selectman Cosgrove. "Preserving biodiversity and functioning ecosystems is essential in protecting the health of our environment.” 

“Our planet is facing an extinction crisis and we need to act forcibly to protect threatened species," added David E. McCarthy "It's not too late for change.” 

The event symbolized Branford's recognition that as a result of both action, and inaction, biodiversity across the planet is in a rapid decline. The Town announced its commitment to protecting biodiversity and threatened species by planting and protecting it right here, on Branford’s Town Green.

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