Home > News > Blog > Aaron Lefland > 2024 Advocacy Days – Staff Reflection and Recap


Two CLCC Staff Members in front of the Capitol Building in Washington DC

At the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC), we recognize the power and importance of conservation advocacy at the local, state, and national level. As Connecticut’s only state-wide land trust service organization, we were proud to represent Connecticut’s ~120 land trusts in Washington D.C. at the Land Trust Alliance’s 2024 Advocacy Days. Participation in Advocacy Days underscores CLCC’s commitment to shaping policies that safeguard our natural and working lands, and provide critical funding for land conservation projects.

Group representing Connecticut in front of the Capitol building

Land Trust Alliance

Representing CLCC at this year’s Advocacy Days were Aaron Lefland, Deputy Director, and Jovan Bryan, Community Conservation Coordinator. They were thrilled to be joined by dedicated colleagues from across Connecticut, including Ailla Wasstrom-Evans from the Land Trust Alliance, Sharon Lynch of Avalonia Land Conservancy, and Laura Moore Brown of the Warren Land Trust.

This impressive delegation meant that different perspectives could be shared, including those of both regional and single-town land trusts. Sharon and Laura’s on-the-ground stories brought depth to our advocacy efforts, emphasizing the real-world impact of federal programs on land trusts and their ability to increase the pace and scale of land conservation in Connecticut.

Split photo with top being Jovan Bryan speaking with Congressman Larson's aide and the bottom with Aaron Lefland speaking with Congressman Larson's Aide

Ailla Wasstrom-Evans

The Connecticut delegation met with the offices of Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and Representatives Jim Himes and John Larson. Connecticut is incredibly fortunate to have members of congress who are supportive of land conservation efforts – and while this certainly makes our advocacy easier, it significantly extends our influence beyond local and state boundaries, ensuring the conservation of the lands that we need and love.

In addition to thanking our senators and representatives for their past support of conservation-related programs, our delegation advocated for:

  • 2024 Farm Bill, which is the largest single source of federal funding for private land conservation, and funds programs like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE). More in the LTA factsheet HERE »
  • Forest Conservation Easement Program (FCEP), which would replace the Healthy Forests Reserve Program and create a complementary program to ACEP. This would fill a funding gap for forested land conservation – a critical component of conservation efforts in Connecticut. More in the LTA factsheet HERE »
  • Connecticut River Watershed Partnership Act (CRWPA), which would create a dedicated funding stream to leverage state, local and private investments in nonregulatory conservation, restoration, education and recreation efforts in the watershed. More in the LTA factsheet HERE »
  • Clarifying IRS Code to provide more certainty and stability for well-intended donors who donate conservation easements. This comes on the heels of the successful passage of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act, enacted in December 2022. More in the LTA factsheet HERE »

Man speaking at a podium


Our Connecticut delegation also made the point that increased staffing is needed within many federal agencies. While programs like the Inflation Reduction Act are providing a once-in-a-generation source of funding for land conservation and stewardship, additional staff capacity is needed to ensure that these funds effectively and efficiently reach the ground.

In addition to sharing our own issues, Advocacy Days provided a stage to learn what conservation priorities exist with other states across our nation. The Land Trust Alliance organized meetings with federal agencies like the United States Forest Service to field questions and concerns from multiple state delegates, including Connecticut.

CLCC is proud to be your voice for conservation at the US Capitol, and we are incredibly grateful to the Land Trust Alliance for organizing this important advocacy event. We hope you’ll join us at next year’s Advocacy Days!