2009 Excellence in Conservation Awards

Excellence in Land Conservation Award
Outstanding Land Acquisition Effort

Guilford Land Trust

In 2008, the Guilford Land Conservation Trust completed the largest open space protection project in its history with the completion of the 141‐acre Broomstick Ledges purchase. The spectacular property was a top conservation priority of the land trust for years due to its critical environmental and recreational importance. This 2.15 million dollar project involved major fundraising, a large town bond during difficult economic times, and a complicated state grant process.  Protecting the Broomstick Ledges preserves the outstanding view that draws so many visitors to Guilford's Bluff  Head. The popular Mattabesett Trail crosses the property and is part of the newly designated New England Scenic Trail which runs  from New Hampshire to the Long Island Sound in Guilford.  This land closes a gap in over 18,000 acres of contiguous conserved land.

Excellence in Land Conservation Award
Exemplary Fundraising or Outreach Project

The Land Trust of Danbury

During the middle of 2008, the Trust received three grants that dramatically transformed the momentum of The organization. The largest of these awards  was a $21,000 grant from the PCLB Foundation to build capacity and  take the land trust to the next level. The Board of Directors established key objectives for this grant and decided that most could be met by hiring a part‐time Executive Director.  The new Director, Sharon Danosky, led board retreat that charted the future direction of the organization.  The resulting Five Year Strategic Plan reorganized the committee structure and developed work plans for each.  This process required exceptional effort and initiative on the part of The Land Trust. Substantial progress has been made toward capacity building and toward moving the overall governance and operations to a much higher level.

Excellence in Land Conservation Award
Successful Collaboration

Naromi Land Trust

In December 2008, Naromi Land Trust acquired the 81‐acre Towner Hill property in Sherman after a long and challenging 4 year process of study, negotiation and grant applications.  The trust originally worked to get  the property funded from the Federal Highlands Act which was created to protect New York City’s water supply. Naromi and the town of Sherman co‐applied for a Connecticut Open Space grant and successfully sought funds from town Open Space Bonds, with Naromi slated to contribute or raise the balance of the $1.3 million asking price. While in the midst of negotiations with the seller, Naromi was informed that it was ineligible for both Highlands Funding and an Open Space grant due to an ambiguity in the Act’s language and therefore the Highlands Funds had be used for another project, leaving a $500,000 shortfall. With the help of Congressman Chris Murphy and state legislators Mary Ann Carson and David Cappiello, Naromi was eventual able to get the Highlands Act rewritten and was awarded Highlands Funding in 2008. The wooded property contains a diversity of highquality wildlife habitats, including two pristine vernal pools. Naromi will develop public hiking trails to the hilltops and to the vernal pool so all can enjoy these special places. This has truly been a partnership effort with federal, state, town, and private monies was able to protect a critical open space parcel due to the tenacity and unwavering dedication of Naromi’s Board President Marge Josephson.

Excellence in Land Conservation Award
Excellence in Stewardship

Joshua’s Tract Historic and Conservation Trust.

The award is for two significant accomplishments . First, the trust has expended significant resoruces and time defending the integeity of the Windham Atlantic White Cedar Bog. When the rare 67‐acre preserve was threatened by commercial development on abutting property, the Trust committed over $25,000 to hiring an environmental engineering firm to develop its case. The firm created an alternative low‐impact design and provided testimony before the Windham Inland Wetlands Commission. The result was a negotiated agreement between the Trust and the developer which insures that the environmentally sensitive bog will be protected.  In addition to the considerable outlay of funds, Trust volunteers logged hundreds of hours on the bog defense.

Secondly, in response to standards set by the Land Trust Alliance, Trust undertook a project to write management plans for all its properties. They have completed that task with a total of 57 properties under management plan.