Thursday, July 16, 2009

Woodmont Day 2009 Will Honor The Late John Volk

Woodmont Day will be a homecoming of sorts for the late John H. Volk.

The director of the aquaculture division of the state Department of Agriculture for 21 years, Volk is credited with improving the cleanliness of Long Island Sound and the farming of shellfish.

A resident of the Woodmont section of the city more than 40 years, Volk died in November 2007. But the state lab's research vessel has been renamed the John H.

Volk and borough residents will unveil a memorial bench and plaque on July 25.

State Rep. Richard Roy, D-Milford, and a neighbor of Volk's, pushed the bill through the Legislature this spring. It was signed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell last month.

"When John and I were young, you could walk into Long island Sound up to your knees and still see your feet,'' Roy said. "Then for many years you couldn't, but the Sound is much cleaner again, largely thanks to John. You can see your feet again.'' Volk began his career as a biologist for a local oyster company, and did much research into how to increase the yield of bivalves in state waters. He was also part of a team of scientists that identified the parasite that decimated the local oyster crop in the late 1990s.

Woodmont Day Co-chairwoman Kelley Cummings said the plaque and bench will be at the foot of Belmont Street, next to the fishing groin.

"We'll dedicate it near the end of the Woodmont Day Parade, as the marchers reach that spot,'' she said.

The parade steps off at 9 a.m. July 25, and will take about 30 minutes to reach the memorial, organizers said.

The boat named for the late scientist will also be part of the day's events, moored just off the Woodmont shore.

The vessel is due to be replaced in a few years, but Roy's measure includes naming the new craft for Volk as well, for up to 20 years.

The theme of this year's neighborhood block party is "Woodmont Goes Green,'' an idea that would have pleased the local environmentalist.

"We'll have information booths on recycling, composting, solar heating and other things that people can do to protect the environment,'' Cummings said.

John H. Volk He lived in Woodmont section of Milford more than 40 years. He was the principal biologist for Long Island Sound Oyster Farms from 1978 to 1982. Volk was the director of the Bureau of Aquaculture of the state Department of Agriculture from 1982 until his retirement in 2003. He served as an advisor in the development of vocational-technical aquaculture programs for high school students. He published research on shellfish growing and harvesting, and was a co-author of a study of a parasite that devastated the oyster crop along the Connecticut shoreline in the late 1990s. The study is available on-line at Volk died Nov. 12, 2007, after a long illness. Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill in June that names the state aquaculture lab's research vessel the "John H. Volk.'' The boat is docked at the state aquaculture lab on Rogers Avenue in Milford.

Original Story By Frank Juliano CLICK HERE

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