Robert Z. Norman

Founder, former president, volunteer, visionary

When Hanover adopted its first town-wide master plan and zoning ordinance in 1961, it omitted a greenbelt proposed around the town’s most developed area.  That very day, a few concerned citizens – Bob Norman, Carolyn Tenney, George Wrightson, Ted Hunter, and Jean Hennessey – met to form a group to see what could be done to protect those places.  They were back the next year with a ballot petition for a new zone, Natural Preserve, which was readily approved by Town Meeting and now covers Pine Park and other lands later protected. This group incorporated as the Hanover Conservation Council and went on to advocate for a town conservation commission in 1966. 

Bob and the Council led the effort to protect key lands in Hanover – the Tanzi Tract, Balch Hill, South Esker, Connecticut River/Mink Brook confluence and more – and also in nearby towns. These included Lyme’s Wilder Wildlife Management Area, a Plainfield wildflower sanctuary, and the Grafton Pond Reservation. The Council also initiated a program of bird walks and nature hikes, helped with trail creation and maps, and helped integrate environmental education into the school science curriculum. All continue today through the Hanover Conservancy. 

Bob served the Council as Secretary (1964), President (1970-75 and 1996-99), Treasurer (1975-96), and was honored as Emeritus Board Member when he stepped down in 2009. He continues as a wise and valued member of our Lands Committee. Bob received the Nan King Award for Service to the Community at the 2001 Hanover Town Meeting.

Norman Overlook at Mink Brook

In 1999, Bob led the Council’s effort to protect the 112-acre Mink Brook Nature Preserve, then slated to become a 32-lot subdivision. In 2019, the 20th anniversary of that daunting and ultimately successful project, the Conservancy dedicated the Norman Overlook to Bob and his vision for our community.