Volunteers Respond to Isaias

After Tropical Storm Isaias we were able to check 30+ miles of hiking trails thanks to our incredible volunteers. Twenty-five volunteers who responded to a call for assistance visited all 21 NCLC trailed preserves and emailed detailed reports and pictures to staff. In many cases, volunteers made multiple visits and worked to open trails themselves, which helped our stewardship staff efficiently respond to the areas of highest need. Most of the public trails needed chainsaw work by NCLC staff, qualified volunteers, and in a few cases, paid professionals. Restoration work by staff and volunteers is still underway with a target completion date of October 31.  We are grateful for our wonderful volunteers for their hard work and dedication. Are you interested in volunteering? Email our Carrie Davis, our assistant director of land conservation and volunteer coordinator: carrie@ctland.org.



Inspiration: The Power of Forests

Sebastião Salgado is a photojournalist renowned for his long-term projects documenting the humanity and dignity of dispossessed people. In this video shares his personal journey that led him to his craft and inspired his commitment to reforestation. His message about stewardship, resiliency, and the transformative power of forests applies to Connecticut’s forests as much as Brazil’s rain forests. We hope you enjoy this engaging and inspirational video.

Our New Name and Merger with Naromi Land Trust

Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust Announces Name Change and Merger with Naromi Land Trust

Naromi Land Trust and Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust enthusiastically announce their intention to merge on June 30, 2020.  Weantinoge, the surviving entity of the merger, will change its name to Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy (NCLC).

Founded in 1965, Weantinoge is Northwest Connecticut’s regional land trust and the largest land trust in the state. As a guardian of natural and working lands, public recreation areas, and drinking water resources, Weantinoge permanently protects 10,500 acres in seventeen communities, including 12 public hiking preserves, 29 working farms, and 42 miles of rivers and streams. Naromi was founded in 1968 to benefit the general public and lands of Sherman, and permanently protects 1,500 acres, including 11 public hiking preserves.

“This is a momentous time for our organization and an exciting one. The new name, Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy, better reflects the work that we do. But, our mission to safeguard the natural lands and waters our communities depend on is not changing,” said Weantinoge’s Executive Director, Catherine Rawson.

Naromi and Weantinoge have worked in close partnership for several years on projects including volunteer trainings and education and, most recently, to protect 20 acres of critical agricultural land in Sherman. Both organizations are accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and are in a strong financial and governance position.

“Combining the efforts of our two organizations enables us to more efficiently provide the services and benefits our members care most about. It has never been more important to focus on strengthening our ability to serve the Town of Sherman forever,” said Naromi’s Executive Director, Amanda Branson, who will remain with the merged organization.

“I am delighted to share this great news with the Naromi community,” noted Naromi Board President, Chris Jellen. “The Board of Directors of Naromi join me in our resolve to ensure the forever protection of the lands in our care and deliver the most benefits of conservation to our community. Joining Weantinoge in their next chapter as the Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy is the best way to do that.”

After the merger, Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy will protect over 12,000 acres including 23 public preserves with hiking trails and 30 working farms.  “For 55 years, Weantinoge has led the state in the conservation of natural lands and waters,” said Hiram Williams, Board President of Weantinoge. “We look forward to working in partnership with the Sherman community to safeguard the natural lands they value and depend on most, forever. And, we are thrilled to continue our legacy of environmental conservation as Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy.”

Members of Naromi will be asked to approve the merger at a special meeting on June 13, 2020.  The meeting will be held via video conference.  More information about how to participate in the special meeting, who can vote, and other details is available at naromi.org/merger, or contact Amanda Branson, Executive Director of Naromi at amanda@naromi.org or call 860-354-0260.

Read Our Latest Impact Report Here

As supporters of our work, you are creating a conservation legacy that will last beyond our lifetimes. In this Impact Report, you will see the breadth of what we are accomplishing together. Through our acquisition, stewardship, education, and partnership programs, your support touches the lives of thousands. You have made it all possible and the future is ours to create together. Click here to read the full Impact Report.

Now Hiring: Summer Interns

Weantinoge is hiring two paid interns to work 30 hours per week (each), from June through August 2020*. They will be based in Weantinoge’s Kent, CT office and be trained and managed by Weantinoge’s professional staff. Work will take place at Weantinoge preserves and at preserves owned and managed by other area land trusts. This is a unique, hands-on opportunity to learn about land and public preserve management, trail construction and maintenance, GPS/GIS, and other important stewardship work at different organizations. These internships are funded by a grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation as part of Weantinoge’s partnership program.

Work will be performed outdoors in various weather conditions and on rugged terrain, as well as indoors in an office setting.

Housing is available if needed in Sharon, CT for a minimal cost.

Click here for the full job description. 

Foxes, Land Conservation, and Lyme Disease

How does land conservation reduce the transmission of Lyme disease? Dr. Tim Hofmeester’s research suggests that predators, like foxes, reduce the number of ticks that become infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease by controlling the tick’s preferred host species, the white-footed mouse. It’s a fascinating area of research that reminds us there is still much to learn about the complex interactions between species in a healthy ecosystem. Paul Elconin, Weantinoge’s Director of Land Conservation, was quoted in this News Times article about the work Weantinoge is doing to protect large areas of high-quality forest so predators have the space to thrive.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria, Borrerlia burgdorferi, and transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick, most commonly the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). Ticks become infected only if they feed on an animal that carries B. burgdorferi. In the eastern United States, upwards of 90% of white-footed mice carry the bacteria and this mouse is one of the most common host species for the deer tick.

Over two years, Dr. Tim Hofmeester compared the number of ticks on mice from areas with healthy predator populations to the number of ticks on mice caught in low predator areas. Mice caught in the areas with healthy predator populations had only 10 to 20 percent as many ticks as those from the low predator area. Fewer newly hatched ticks feeding on white-footed mice means that fewer adult ticks will carry the B. Burgdoferi bacteria, “The predators appear to break the cycle of infection,” said Dr. Hofmeester.

Lyme disease is more complicated than a single tick bite. Habitat fragmentation, hunting, and the removal of larger predators like cougars may all figure into the dwindling of small mammal predators like foxes, weasels, bobcats, and fishers. Land conservation can play a role by protecting large tracts of land that small mammal predators require. As research continues, will public health officials consider land conservation to protect small predator species as one way to slow the spread of Lyme disease? The New York Times notes, “Nothing else — like culling deer or spraying lawns with tick-killing pesticide — has worked so far to stem the incidence of tick-borne disease, which is spreading in the Midwestern United States, in parts of Canada and at higher altitudes across Europe.”