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Ferns and trees along a stone wall on trail


In the first week of June, we convened land trust stewardship staff and volunteers from close to 20 land trusts across the state for a morning of discussion and networking. This was the first time we have held a summit specifically dedicated to stewardship topics, and we were delighted with the thoughtful and informative conversations that happened throughout the day.

The morning started with a presentation and discussion led by Mariah Fogg, New England Program Coordinator, from the Land Trust Alliance on working with volunteers. Many land trusts shared their difficulties getting younger folks to come out and get involved, organizing trainings, and building the capacity of recurring volunteers. Mariah shared some excellent resources, such as checklists on how to organize and structured volunteer handbooks. Attendees traded questions and recommendations for recruiting new volunteers, running work parties, and other volunteer management. 

Following that, CLCC Deputy Director Aaron Lefland led a discussion around monitoring and encroachment. There was fruitful conversation about strategies, policies, and resources for land trusts to utilize when approaching these issues. Many land trust representatives shared similar issues with encroachment from neighbors and the difficult balance of maintaining relationships while enforcing property boundaries. There were a lot of great suggestions and some very helpful resources shared by the Warren Land Trust that they give to their property stewards.

After lunch, CLCC Climate Smart Stewardship Coordinator Ricky Bentley discussed the impacts of climate change on stewardship efforts and opportunities for land trusts to get assistance with stewardship planning and implementation. There were echoes of agreement with the various impacts shared by stewards in the room. The impacts on forests and trail infrastructure were universally seen. We had the opportunity to hear from a couple of the first recipients of CLCC’s Climate Smart Land Stewardship Grant about their projects and how they were utilizing our grant as well as NRCS funding to address the impacts on their preserves.

With more and more land trusts taking on active stewardship projects in their preserves, we at CLCC are dedicated to supporting that work however we can. Events like this create collective space for asking questions, highlighting challenges, and building connections between organizations and people. The collective knowledge present at the summit was impressive, CLCC will continue to support knowledge sharing opportunities through its Conserving Land by Staying Connected programs. I am encouraged by the conversations and solutions that came out of this group, and I look forward to facilitating more opportunities to engage with land stewards. 

If you missed this stewardship event, join us at the next one! CLCC will be offering a guided site visit to Great Mountain Forest. On this visit we will explore sustainably managed forest stands and learn about biodiversity, climate resilience, and natural regeneration from the GMF staff. 

Stay tuned for more stewardship events, or if you are interested in scheduling a site visit for our Climate Smart Program please feel free to reach out.