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Nearly 100 community members were on hand last Thursday evening for the 49th Annual Membership Meeting of the New Canaan Land Trust. Guests were welcomed to St. Mark’s Morrill Hall by a slide show of photos featuring NCLT members, the Eagle Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the NCHS Service League of Boys (aka SLOBS) working on many of the Land Trust’s 70 properties.

An NCLT sign greets guest last Thursday evening at St. Mark’s
The lively slide show made a warm and welcoming greeting to attendees as they entered St. Mark’s. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres were served and guests were encouraged to bid upon interesting items in a silent auction, including bundles of locally sourced firewood, paintings from a local artist, rare books from the early age of the American conservation movement, maple syrup tapped right here in New Canaan, and much more.
Leading off the night was guest speaker Ned Sullivan, who has served as president of Scenic Hudson for the past 17 years. Founded in 1963 and based in Poughkeepsie, NY along the banks of the Hudson River, Scenic Hudson is dedicated to protecting and restoring the Hudson River, its riverfront and the majestic vistas and working landscapes beyond as an irreplaceable national treasure for America and a vital resource for residents and visitors.

Ned did a wonderful job demonstrating how a conservation organization operates at a grand scale; with almost 40,000 acres protected, Scenic Hudson protects the amount of land conserved in New Canaan 100 times over! Nonetheless, Mr. Sullivan left the audience with examples of successful community engagement and collaboration in achieving broader conservation goals.
Following Ned Sullivan’s presentation, Board President Art Berry explained the details of current operating revenues and expenditures, while Executive director Mike Johnson shared the Land Trust’s accomplishments since joining in June, including guest speeches from three of the high school Stewards who took part in the Summer Steward program this past June and July. Featured just after Berry’s presentation was a 6-minute video tribute to Land Trust founder Jack Gunther, created by Charlotte and Lillian Engel (NCHS graduates and daughters of Board member John Engel).
Also on hand were representatives from the Trust for Public Land, who have been instrumental in helping the Land Trust raise awareness and funds to support the ongoing Silvermine Fowler Preserve project.
The meeting was a great time to meet more of the community and our dedicated supporters, as well as to reflect on our accomplishments and plan for the year ahead. Thank you to all those who were in attendance, and especially to Susan Goodman Catering, Dick DePatie, Pete Stair and the rest of the team who worked to make St. Mark’s Morrill Hall such a warm and inviting venue.
Local NCTV 79 was on hand for the event, and full video of the evenings events will be shared here once they are uploaded to the NCTV79 website.