May was a whirlwind of a month for the CLCC staff. Just days after we wrapped up the 2022 legislative session with some wins for land conservation funding, we launched our much anticipated 2022 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference – a total team effort from start to finish.
Amidst these big news events, CLCC staff was working hard – as always – and creating lots of news of their own:
Aaron joins CLCC as Deputy Director
On May 6, CLCC welcomed Aaron Lefland as our first Deputy Director. True to CLCC form, Aaron hit the ground running – participating in the conference and implementing systems that are already having a palpable impact on our day-to-day operations. Prior to joining CLCC, Aaron spent five years as the Executive Director of the New Canaan Land Trust. There, he led the organization to many milestones including becoming nationally accredited, ushering in a new strategic plan and first-ever strategic conservation plan, and more than doubling household membership.
With the benefit of these and other experiences, we are excited to have Aaron’s support in developing CLCC’s next generation of land trust technical assistance services and programming. Please watch for communications from Aaron over the summer. Better yet, invite him to a land trust event or for a walk and talk. Connect with Aaron at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yaw is finally full time
Yaw Owusu Darko – a student in UConn’s Masters of Public Administration Program (MPA) – joined our staff in August 2020 as CLCC’s second Sandy Breslin Conservation Fellow. While he contributed to CLCC in a multitude of ways, Yaw’s biggest accomplishment as our Fellow was assisting CLCC in securing a multi-million dollar federal grant award to create the Connecticut Conservation Partnership Program (CCPP) – a financial and technical assistance program for land trusts applying to the state’s open space grant program.
After his fellowship, Yaw stayed on to oversee the complicated development of the federal grant program and other special projects. On May 31, after two years of working with us on a part-time basis, Yaw finally transitioned to full-time, just in time to launch the CCPP this summer. I encourage you to get to know Yaw. (Hint: he would be very happy to use his Merlin Bird ID App and go birding with you on one of your preserves!) Connect with Yaw at email@example.com
Thank you, Rebecca
While we celebrate the addition of Aaron and Yaw to our staff, we also say goodbye to Rebecca Dahl, CLCC’s Community Engagement Specialist. Rebecca joined CLCC in February 2020, just weeks before we closed our office and started working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Rebecca’s assistance, CLCC immediately pivoted to developing a new series of on-line programming to give land trusts a consistent chance to talk, share, learn and maintain critical support networks. She was also instrumental in redesigning CLCC’s new website, supporting land trusts in their exploration of partnerships and mergers, and overseeing CLCC’s equity-focused regional advancement initiatives, all while pursuing an MPA from UConn. We wish Rebecca only the best as she moves on to pursue new professional opportunities.
I thoroughly enjoy working with and learning from this talented and dedicated team, which also includes our exceptional Operations Manager, Cristina Hayden, and Sandy Breslin Conservation Fellow, Sylvie Boucher.
As always, if you need assistance or have any questions or comments about our work at CLCC, please contact us anytime. We love hearing from you and working together to achieve your land conservation and community goals.
Enjoy this upcoming Trails Day weekend!
P.S. CLCC’s staff is fortunate to have the support of an outstanding Board of Directors.