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Alexandra "Sandy" Breslin

1954 - 2017
Alexandra "Sandy" Breslin Obituary
Alexandra "Sandy" Breslin, 62, of Bethany CT died on May 31, 2017 at Connecticut Hospice in Branford surrounded by her family and friends. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, July 5, 1954, Sandy was the daughter of Ruth Lyall Breslin and the late John Breslin. She is survived by her many beloved relatives and her scores of adoring friends. Sandy was a graduate of Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge; she attended Bryn Mawr College, Cornell University, and obtained her BA from Yale University, Branford College in 1983. She earned a Master's degree from Yale, ABD. Sandy was an activist, who during her too short life, made major and enduring contributions to the environment and to politics—locally, throughout the State and throughout the Nation. She was beloved and admired by her relatives and her scores of friends and colleagues who will never forget her. Few have done more for Long Island Sound than Sandy Breslin. It seems fitting Sandy passed away in a room overlooking the Sound. A leader in securing tens of millions of dollars in annual federal funding to support groups delivering conservation in communities around the Sound and passing the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act; Sandy most recently served as the Connecticut Co-Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee, Long Island Sound Study. Sandy helped establish standards for harvesting menhaden that set the stage for the return of whales to the Sound and fought for horseshoe crab sanctuaries that protected this ancient creature whose eggs help fortify migratory shorebirds annual journey up the CT coast. Every time you see a school of fish, a pod of whales and a flock of shorebirds, remember Sandy. Sandy was well respected by members of both political parties, and by her fellow advocates for her respectful advocacy, brilliance, steady presence and quiet strength which enabled her to strike needed compromises to advance important environmental and conservation priorities. Long-time Steering Committee member and Co-Chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the statewide CT Land Conservation Council, Sandy helped secure passage of Public Act 12-152 which stepped-up the State's efforts to protect our living and working landscapes for wildlife and people. She was a major player in literally dozens of projects to protect signature state environmental jewels including: Trout Brook Valley, the former Griswold Airport, Long Beach West, The Preserve, Suffield and Barn Island Wildlife Management Areas and to expand the Stewart B. McKinney and Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge. Sandy's work with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment contributed to the protection of 18,000 acres of land in southwest Connecticut; the protection of sensitive areas of the Long Island Sound and its coastline from harmful industrialization and strengthened Connecticut's Environmental Policy Act that requires and environmental review of all state-funded projects. Sandy's work while often behind-the-scenes was recognized with three national awards including US Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Award; a Teaming with Wildlife Member Achievement Award for establishing a CT Conservation License Plate; and a Coastal America Award for conservation teamwork at Long Beach West. Sandy's willingness to mentor environmental advocates around the state leaves a legacy that will live on in the fortunate people who learned from her and have an impact on conservation for decades. Sandy was also a dedicated and tireless advocate for the Town of Bethany, which proclaimed March 25, 2006 as "Sandy Breslin Day." She served as a member of Bethany's Inland Wetlands Commission for over 23 years, the last 17 as its Chair. As Bethany First Selectwoman Derry Gorski proclaimed, "for over 20 years, Sandy has spent many of her weekends and weeknights slogging through swamps (otherwise known as wetlands) and never leaves home without a flashlight, rubber boots and insect spray." In her beloved Bethany, Sandy volunteered on efforts to renew State funding for open space protection that resulted in the creation of the municipal open space and watershed matching grants program that helped Bethany protect Clover Nook Farm, Veteran's Memorial Park and Monument Stables. For over 10 years, Sandy served as Bethany's representative on the Regional Policy Board of the South Central Regional Water Authority, and on its Land Use Committee. She was unanimously reappointed in May by the Bethany Town Meeting to serve another term on their behalf. Sandy was a lifelong committed and respected Democrat and activist—locally, throughout the State and throughout the Nation. In Bethany, she served as the Chairwoman of the Bethany Democratic Town Committee for many years and under her leadership, Bethany's first Democrat since 1919 was elected First Selectman. In Woodbridge, Sandy was a guiding force in getting Woodbridge's first woman and first Democrat ever elected First Selectman. The number of Democrats throughout the State and nation who were elected with Sandy's aid is too extensive to list. Visiting hours will be Friday (TODAY) from 5-7pm in the IOVANNE FUNERAL HOME, INC. 11 Wooster Place, New Haven. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday morning at 11am in Our Lady of Assumption Church, 81 Center Rd. Woodbridge. Everyone is asked to meet at Church. Burial will be private. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made in Sandy's name to the CT Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound, www.ctenvironment.org/ways-to-give. Share a story and sign Sandy's guest book online at www.iovanne.com.
Published in The New Haven Register on June 2, 2017
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