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Gray day at a preserve with snow on the ground

It has been an engaging first few months for me and the Climate Smart Stewardship Program. It is clear that climate change has become a focal point for many of us, with many stewards in the land trust community ready to roll up their sleeves and put in work towards climate mitigation and adaptation. One of my favorite aspects of this work has been the opportunity to venture out and visit land trusts across Connecticut. These visits are filled with insightful conversations, and the potential of transformative work ahead. As I look forward to the upcoming months, I am excited to get out and explore more of our state’s conserved landscapes and engage in conversations with stewards. 

The insight that comes from folks who are familiar with the history and patterns of specific places is invaluable. The firsthand insights into the direct and specific changes occurring in our landscapes compliments the knowledge gained from experts in forestry, conservation planning, and climate science.

With the first round of grant applications coming in and more being prepared for the coming round on May 1st, the range of projects is exciting to say the least. Some land trusts are delving into larger adaptive forest management strategies to foster the regeneration of a more diverse and resilient forest. Others are taking steps to combat flooding, erosion, and invasive species management by implementing plans that include native pollinator meadow planting and riparian buffers. 

This is just a sample of the stewardship interventions that are being discussed. As we continue to implement climate smart practices and evaluate climate impacts on our landscapes, the number and diversity of projects will continue to grow. It has shown to me that our land trusts are rising to meet the challenges presented by climate change. 

I have had several conversations while on these visits around fostering hope and optimism despite being an often difficult and heavy topic. By sharing knowledge and openly addressing both our achievements and struggles, we pave the way for substantial progress toward creating healthier and enduring landscapes for future generations.

I am grateful to learn and work around so many dedicated and insightful people and I look forward to the collective impact we will make in the months and years to come. Together, let’s continue to learn and act for the benefit of Connecticut’s landscapes and the communities they sustain.