Dear Land Trust Members, Supporters, and New Canaan Community,
It is a pleasure to write my first letter to our members and friends updating them on our activities since early spring. We have passed the "Strawberry Moon" in June and the "Full Buck Moon" in July and are now nearing the end of August, traditionally the end of
summer, at least on the school calendars. The angle of the sun is shifting and the sense of Fall will be very apparent some early morning soon.
This year, August 25 marked the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. This
magnificent idea was fostered by an understanding by a number of prominent individuals that our quality of life has a direct link to the open spaces we have so far preserved, be it the vast and expansive acreages of the West and Alaska, to the small parcels right in our own backyard here in New Canaan.
The NCLT has been quite busy and I believe you will agree we are continuing to make some very good critical strides toward both growing the organization and continuing to solidify its permanence. In this regard, we are delighted to welcome our first Executive Director in the Land Trust’s 49-year history, Michael Johnson, who joined us in early June. Mike is a recent graduate of Yale’s Graduate School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. At Yale he was awarded the 2015 Sussman Foundation Fellowship for natural resource studies. As an undergraduate at Washington State University, he was a Phi Beta Kappa, with magna cum laude honors. He has worked with US Department of Agriculture in both Montana and Washington and last summer was with the National Parks Conservation Association in Anchorage, Alaska.
Also at the first of June I was elected President of the Land Trust, succeeding Chris Schipper.
Chris is to be commended for the fine job he has done over the last four years, and for truly reviving an organization that very much benefited from a change in direction. Chris is now devoting his efforts to insure that we are fully aware of both relevant issues in town, and areas of actual and potential development, along with increasing our efforts as strong open space advocates. We foresee a stronger emphasis upon adding to existing parcels, to establish buffers where possible, and to link properties for potential trail opportunities. In this regard, we are engaged in several conversations with potential land donors and actively campaigning with the Trust for Public Land to raise funds to acquire the 6.5-acre Fowler Parcel in the Silvermine District of Town, providing a key link to the adjoining 40.7-acre Hicks-Kelley Audubon Sanctuary.
The Land Trust has initiated the National Accreditation Process, a three-year undertaking, to increase both the professionalism and streamline our procedures. We have also just completed our third successful Summer Stewardship Program with 6 young women and men from New Canaan High School. The New Canaan Community Foundation awarded the NCLT a walkway grant for the Nature Center- Irwin Park Green Link, and Eagle Scout Candidate Charlie Marsh rebuilt a bridge and trail section for this important future foot pathway. Another Eagle Scout Candidate, Schuyler Ames, built and placed 3 benches using local cedar wood on our Browne Sanctuary, a LT property open for public enjoyment. Finally, Eagle Scout Candidate John Peiser blazed a trail and built a bench on the Hicks-Kelley Audubon parcel off Cedar Lane.
The Land Trust had a satisfying moment in June as two re-habilitated barred owls were
released at our Livingston-Higley Meadows early one evening, through the auspices of
Wildlife in Crisis, a Weston based non-profit living up to their name. About 70 members
and friends watched as both birds flew off into the woods. More recently, three fox kits
were joyously released on the Meadows as well. Also in June, we were very pleased to
receive a NC Preservation Alliance Award for Stone Wall Restoration at the Colhoun
Meadow and Woodlands property fronting Davenport Ridge Road. Take a look at this
classic New England wall, restored using no mortar, as you return to New Canaan.
As you can tell, the Land Trust has been actively working to advance our goals of open
space stewardship for the betterment of the community and the nature that surrounds us. As the summer begins to transition to autumn, take some time to visit one of the
properties and walk the trails with a friend. We’ll keep working to maintain and improve these spaces, and you can help too by sharing your experiences with others in the community. Everyone will benefit from a greater awareness and support of the Land Trust and we can all play a role in that effort. To learn more visit our revamped website at www.NewCanaanLandTrust.com.
Finally, please mark your calendars and plan to attend our Annual Membership Meeting
to be held at 6:30pm on November 10th at Merrill Hall of St. Mark’s Church on 111
Oenoke Ridge. Our guest speaker will be Ned Sullivan, President of Scenic Hudson, which
was founded in 1963 to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape
as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors.
With kind regards on behalf of our Board of Directors,
Art Berry