At our final staff meeting of the year I asked the team to reflect on their fondest CLCC memories from 2022 and also share a project or two they are most excited about tackling in 2023. While we all had trouble whittling down our respective lists, here are some highlights:
Yaw Owusu Darko, Project Specialist
It has been a wonderful year launching three CLCC programs: Connecticut Conservation Partnership Program, Transaction Assistance Grant Program, and Bird & Hike with CT Land Trusts. Through these programs, I have had the opportunity to connect with numerous land trusts and community groups across the state. I look forward to building on these connections and working — and birding — with many more people in the new year.
Vanessa Giannasi, Development Director
Having joined CLCC in July, I’ve been busy learning about the programs and resources that CLCC offers to Connecticut land trusts. I’m very proud of the work that our small but mighty team accomplishes and want to share that sense of pride with you! In 2023, I look forward to raising funds to directly empower Connecticut’s land trusts to conserve more land, while further elevating CLCC’s profile in the community.
Cristina Hayden, Operations Manager
What an exciting year for CLCC! Along with welcoming new members to our team, the 2022 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference was a unique and exciting hybrid event. It felt good to see everybody in-person at Peoples State Forest. The young conservationists who joined us in planning and participating in conference roundtables created a renewed sense of energy for the work that we do across the state. We look forward to seeing you on March 25 at the 2023 Conference.
Aaron Lefland, Deputy Director
How time flies! I joined the incredible CLCC team this past May, and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with many of CT’s land trusts through board retreats, peer networking programs, and more. Lots of planning has gone into the 2023 Summit on Housing and Conservation, and I look forward to gathering and learning with you all on February 1.
Emely Ricci, Sandy Breslin Conservation Fellow
A highlight of my fellowship so far has been planning and completing the Northwest Advancement Initiative. Seeing land trusts come together to discuss diversity and inclusion was inspiring. I enjoyed compiling and sharing amazing land conservation success stories from across the state each month in the #LoveYourCTLandTrust eNews. I’m excited to see what 2023 brings!
For me, it’s all of the above and so much more.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with this fabulous team and our outstanding Board of Directors – as well as land trust staff and volunteers, community and regional leaders, CLCC advisors, advocates, legislators, agency colleagues, and other inspiring people I’ve met all across the state who care deeply about making this world a better place now and for future generations.
Your passion and resolve to make a difference fuels my own, each and every day. Thank you!
We can’t wait to see what we’ll accomplish together with you in the New Year.