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Pomfret’s wildlife habitat just got a helping hand thanks to the acquisition of a 9.5-acre property by the Wyndham Land Trust, which sits adjacent to their existing Aicher and Holzer Preserves. The three parcels combine to protect a total of 220 acres of valuable forest and farmland in the heart of Pomfret.

The property belonged to Pomfret realtor Cici Cole who passed away in December of 2019. Local residents were alarmed when For Sale signs appeared in May, and they realized that the fragile habitat could quickly be replaced by house lots. The neighbors banded together with conservation-minded citizens of Windham County, the Town of Pomfret, friends of Bird Conservation Research Inc., and the Wyndham Land Trust to raise the funds to purchase the property.

“It was heartening to see the community pull together in a short period of time to protect this valuable land,” said Wyndham Land Trust President Mike St Lawrence. “It was an example of how a group of people with a common vision can make a difference. Future generations will thank them for their foresight.” “Through acquisition of this land, a contiguous band of natural habitat now exists,” said Bird Conservation Research Director Robert Craig. “The importance of parcel size for the protection of wildlife has been demonstrated by multiple studies and is a key principle in the field of conservation biology.”

The land trust recognizes the importance of local agriculture and plans to preserve the open fields that cover much of the new property.

“We will work with a local farmer to keep the large field in hay,” said Andy Rzeznikiewicz, the land manager for the land trust. “In the small field we will work with the American Chestnut Foundation and the State University of New York to raise chestnut trees that might show resistance to the blight that decimated them across the country 100 years ago.”

The Wyndham Land Trust was formed in 1975 and now protects over 4,500 acres in Northeastern Connecticut. The work of the all-volunteer group is possible through the generosity and dedication of its members and donors.