In our correspondence with you, we often refer to our mission statement: “The mission of the Branford Land Trust is to preserve open space in Branford, and to promote our community’s appreciation of Branford’s diverse natural features.” It appears on our website, and is printed on our newsletter and letterhead. But what does it mean?
It means that as an organization, we are charged with the tasks of acquiring land with valuable natural resources, overseeing the open space properties entrusted to us, and educating our community about the value of those properties and resources.
From year to year, much of our work is the same, and similar to what you’ll read about in our Annual Report (Download PDF Version Here). We coordinate land acquisitions like the new Gould Lane parcel (above), we maintain our properties with ongoing trail upkeep and work parties, and we present a variety of community programs and events like our spring lecture series, Nature Explorer walks, and the Environmental Day Camp.
But the preservation of close to 1,400 acres of property in a town as large and diverse as Branford is a multifaceted task. That is why you’ll frequently see Land Trust representatives coordinating scientific research on properties, talking with land owners about property boundaries and maintenance, attending Town and commission meetings, and taking active roles in conversations about conservation and development, especially in matters that could pose a threat to the natural resources we protect.
The Branford Land Trust has a long history of these types of activities. It was founded in 1967 by a group of concerned citizens, led by First Selectman John Sliney and Town Attorney Frank Dumark, who wanted to protect places like the Branford Supply Ponds from being developed, and it has regularly taken positions about potential threats to Branford’s natural resources, like the proposal in the early 2000s for a natural gas pipeline crossing three Land Trust properties between Pine Orchard and Stony Creek.
While we are encouraged by the support of many of our members, we realize that some of you may not be familiar with the Land Trust assuming these important — sometimes unpopular — roles. Please know that at all times, we are working with respect to our mission and bylaws, and in accordance with the principles and high standards set forth by the Land Trust Alliance, a national conservation organization that represents more than 1,700 land trusts across the country.
We thank you for your continued support of the Land Trust, which makes it possible for our all-volunteer organization to work on your behalf to carry out our mission. We ask you to consider making an end-of-year contribution to support our efforts to preserve and promote Branford’s diverse natural features for future generations.
Amos Barnes, President