Connecticut Land Trust Advancement Initiative: Growing Conservation & Stewardship Capacity by Building Stronger Land Trusts
A CLCC program commenced in October 2014, the Connecticut Land Trust Advancement Initiative is an organizational advancement program for land trusts working together as part of one of Connecticut's Regional Conservation Partnership or otherwise seeking opportunities for regional collaboration.
The 2014-16 Pilot Initiative -- Lower Connecticut River Valley -- an 18 month program -- CLCC worked with the Land Trust Alliance and the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (River COG) to provide 15 land trusts within the Lower CT River and Coastal Region Land Trust Exchange (LTE) (a regional conservation partnership coordinated by RiverCOG Environmental Planner Margot Burns) with technical assistance to collaborate on 3 projects focused on communications & community engagement, long-term stewardship, and a feasibility study on shared services. Project consultants were: Judy Anderson, Community Consultants, and Tom Curren (Communications); Shane Hetzler, Back Forty Forestry, LLC, and Becca Washburn, the Land Trust Alliance (Stewardship); and Henrietta Jordan, Trailmarker Consultants (Shared Services Study). This was the first project of its kind in the country funded by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service for the purpose of building land trust capacity. Participating land trusts: Avalonia Land Conservancy, Chester Land Trust, Clinton Land Conservation Trust, Colchester Land Trust, Deep River Land Trust, East Haddam Land Trust, Essex Land Trust, Haddam Land Trust, Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Old Lyme Land Trust, Lower Connecticut River Land Trust, Middlesex Land Trust, Old Saybrook Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, Westbrook Land Trust. (All but Avalonia Land Conservancy and Colchester Land Trust are members of the LTE.)
Access information and handouts for the Land Trust Advancement Initiative - Lower Connecticut River Valley HERE.
- The 2016 Initiative -- New London County Land Trust Advancement Initiative -- April - December 2016, funded by the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut Letz Environmental Grant Program, was a one-year project which sought to strengthen land trusts operating within New London County by providing technical assistance, training and other services focused on building their respective programs to provide long-term land stewardship and conservation defense. By integrating a regional focus to the project, we helped to increase the individual land trust's capacity to deliver greater conservation impact within their respective communities, while also fostering a stronger and more visible collective ability of the land trusts to conserve and protect natural resources in the New London County region. Participating land trusts: Avalonia Land Conservancy, Colchester Land Trust, East Lyme Land Trust, Groton Open Space Association, Old Lyme Land Trust, and Wyndham Land Trust.
Access information and handouts for the Land Trust Advancement Initiative - New London County HERE.
- The 2017 Initiatives
- New London County Land Trust Advancement Initiative - With funding from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut (CFECT), this three-year project will continue and build upon our 2016 New London County Land Trust Advancement Initiative by going deeper into addressing the participating land trusts' respective stewardship programs and overall organizational needs. We will also be adding a GIS mapping component and a series of facilitated group meetings to develop the foundation for sustainable, regional strategic conservation planning and project implementation. See the press release for this initiative here. This project will continue through 2019.
- Waterbury Region Land Trust Advancement Initiative - With funding from the Connecticut Community Foundation, this one-year initiative will allow three land trusts to explore opportunities for stronger collaborative relationships with regional conservation partners, Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative, and arrive together at a decision that best supports the long-term goals of the individual land trusts, with an enhanced conservation impact in the region.
- The 2018 Initiatives
- Waterbury Region Land Trust Advancement Initiative - With funding from the Connecticut Community Foundation, the overarching goal of the 2018 Initative is to build upon the progress made in fostering a collaborative effort among the three participating land trusts from the 2017 Initiative (Bethlehem, Litchfield and Watertown), with guidance and expertise from Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative, while also expanding the project geographically for greater regional impact. To that end, after examining the common longer-term priorities identified through the 2017 Initiative, we decided to focus the project on strategic conservation planning and invited the Morris Land Trust to participate. Together, through a series of individual and group mapping exercises, the project participants identified two potential regional partnership/collaborations focused on land acquisition and watershed protection.
- The 2019 Initiatives
- Waterbury Region Land Trust Advancement Initiative - With funding from the Connecticut Community Foundation, and as part of our Advancement Initiative Advanced Collaboration and Merger Assistance Program we are working with 8 conservation organizations to explore opportunities for a durable collaborative project and/or relationship around mutual goals to protect land and water resources in a watershed region.
- Southwest Connecticut - We are working with eight organizations/communities to explore the creation of a new regional land trust.