2016 CT Land Conservation Conference: Post-Conference Wrap-up

2016 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference

Another record breaker!
March 19 was a beautiful day!  In stark contrast to last year’s snow and sleet, this year’s Connecticut Land Conservation Conference brought only sunshine.   Breaking yet another record for attendance, close to 500 conservationists from across Connecticut and beyond packed the classrooms at Wesleyan University to learn, network and share their ideas, insights, and passion for land conservation.  Another record breaker!  Another amazing conference!

The Welcome Address
CLCC Executive Director Amy B. Paterson kicked off the day with a short introduction and welcome address.  Surrounded by the CLCC Steering Committee, she thanked everyone for their support of CLCC and their contributions to land conservation in 2016, bringing everyone to their feet for a collective round of applause and show of partnership.

Excellence in Conservation Awards Ceremony

CLCC Steering Committee Vice-Chair, Catherine Rawson (Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust), presented the annual Excellence in Conservation Awards, starting with the Katchen Coley Award for Excellence in Land Conservation.  Named in honor and memory of longtime CLCC Steering Committee member Katchen Coley (1924-2013), the 2016 award was given to Doug MacGillvary from Manchester Land Conservation Trust for his decades of contributions as a volunteer land steward for the land trust and Rob Smith, President of East Haddam Land Trust, for his decades of professional and volunteer work in land conservation in East Haddam, regionally and statewide. 

The 2016 CLCC Excellence in Conservation Organization Award was presented to the Trust for Public Land (TPL) for their work in forever protecting The Preserve, the 1,000 acre coastal forest in Essex, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  TPL accepted the award on behalf of the many, many partners – both public and private – that contributed both time and money to bring this epic conservation project to fruition.

Full descriptions of all award recipients may be found in the 2016 Conference Program, available HERE.

The Keynote Address:  A Conversation with Tom Condon

CLCC Steering Committee Chair, Alicia Sullivan, had the distinct pleasure of introducing Tom Condon, the 2016 Conference keynote speaker.  Having just retired after 44 years as a columnist, deputy editorial page editor and chief editorial writer of The Hartford Courant, Tom now writes on land use and related issues for The Connecticut Mirror. Throughout his career, Tom has won more than 30 journalism and community awards, including the American Planning Association Journalism Award for his work editing the Place section, which was dedicated to issues around the built and natural environments.

You can read more about Tom in the 2016 Conference Program HERE.

In recognition of his decades of exceptional reporting on the natural environment as a journalist, editor and columnist, we were honored to present Tom with an Excellence in Land Conservation Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Tom’s keynote address – A Conversation with Tom Condon – was a perfect combination of fact, opinion and humor -- with just the right amount of sarcasm!   Tom touched on a number of topics relevant to land conservation including the local and state land use planning process, smart growth and sprawl, issues with property tax reform, and the role of land trusts and why investing in land trusts through programs like the NY Conservation Partnership Program, make sense.  He also opined that we need to incentivize smart land use planning by linking it to current or additional municipal grant-in-aid programs. Tom’s talk was followed by a Q&A with members of our audience. 

You can read Tom's keynote address HERE.

Workshops and Roundtables

The 2016 conference curriculum included 34 workshops, 3 half-day seminars, 5 humanities workshops, a funders’ fair and an expanded selection of office hours where our attendees were able to meet with experts on a variety of topics.  Over 90 faculty members, comprised of national and state experts, federal and state officials, Connecticut land trust volunteers and staff, and even a panel of exceptional high school students, volunteered their time and expertise in leading sessions throughout the day.  Detailed descriptions of each of the workshops and faculty bios may be found in the Conference program HERE. Electronic versions of many of the presentations are available HERE.

And to top off our list of stellar speakers, Senator Richard Blumenthal popped in during lunch and spoke both formally and informally to our attendees in both lunchrooms. 

Thank you 2016 Conference Sponsors

As always, the success of our annual conference would not be possible without the strong support of our Sponsors.  This year was no exception, with an unprecedented number of financial and in-kind sponsors, including 31 land trusts, joining us in partnership to ensure a top-notch, professional, yet affordable, event for our attendees. 

A huge thanks to all of our sponsors, including lead sponsors, the Land Trust Alliance and The Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation.  2016 Conference Patrons included Eversource, The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land. The South Central Regional Water Authority provided scholarships for first-time land trust and conservation commission attendees from towns located within its Service Area.  We were also able to once again offer close to 20 high school, college and graduate students complimentary registrations thanks to the continued support of The Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation.

Thanks again to our other major sponsors: Alliant Insurance; Audubon Connecticut; Connecticut Forest & Park Association; Danosky & Associates; Farm Credit East; GEI Consultants, Inc.; Greenwoods, Inc.; and Lindberg & Ripple, and to the many others found HERE, including Conservation Service Providers that are listed in CLCC’s 2016 Service Provider Directory available HERE.

Conference Planning Committee and Volunteers
Thank you to our outstanding volunteer Conference Planning Committee (all of whom also served as Event day volunteers):  David Brown, Margot Burns, Ann Courcy, Bob DePietro, Drew Iacovazzi, Connie Manes, Madeline McClave, Elisabeth Moore, Shirley Nichols, Tom Odell, Catherine Rawson, Gail Reynolds, Sarah Shrewsbury, Humphrey Tyler, and Rebecca Washburn . 

Additional volunteers who pitched in to make the day a success included Danielle Breakel, Sandy Breslin, Jeff Cameron, Darnell Depaoli, Tom Finegan, Thomas Hayden, Gordon Paterson, Teri Powell, Alicia Sullivan and John Weedon.

Special thanks goes to: Cristina Hayden (CLCC), Marty Gosselin (CFPA), and Madeline McClave (New Hartford Land Trust), for their time and services in preparing the brochure, program, posters and other conference print materials; CLCC Steering Committee member Humphrey Tyler (Lyme Land Conservation Trust) for spearheading our 2016 Sponsorship Program; Catherine Rawson, Connie Manes, Tom ODell, CLCC Steering Committee member Elisabeth Moore (Connecticut Farmland Trust) for assisting with reception planning; and  CLCC Steering Committee member David Brown (Middlesex Land Trust), for his amazing “whatever you need – whatever it takes – I’m here to help” support throughout the day.

2016 Conference Photos

Photos taken from the 2016 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference can be found on our Facebook page HERE. Feel free to tag yourselves in any photos!

2017 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference
Planning has already begun for the 2017 Annual Conference and we value your input.  Please contact CLCC Executive Director Amy B. Paterson at abpaterson@ctconservation.org or at (860) 685-0785 if you have ideas for 2017 and/or would like to be part of our 2017 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference Planning Committee. 

The 2016 Conference was truly an amazing day! Thanks so much for being a part of it all!