The Aspetuck Land Trust raised a record $5.6 million in its first Green Corridor Capital Campaign to lead conservation efforts in the state, according to a press release.
“We are delighted by the show of support from all across the region,” said ALT President and Easton resident Bill Kraekel in the press release. “Because of their enthusiasm for our successes, we raised far more than our original goal of $4.2 million, and contributions continue to come in. It is truly a testament to the strong commitment to conservation by the people who live in our community.”
In the press release, Kraekel also stated that “the funding will propel the organization to focus on the regional aspect of land conservation, protect vital resources across town boundaries and connect contiguous areas of land for people, animals and biodiversity to enjoy and thrive.”
In the last 12 months, ALT was awarded more than $1.3 million in state and private grants, in addition to the many generous individual donors devoted to saving land.
In May, Easton voters overwhelmingly approved selling 18.7 acres of town-owned land on South Park Avenue to the Aspetuck Land Trust to preserve it, and to maintain the Mill River located on the property. The river is a Class 1 Wild Trout Management Area recognized by state environmental officials. Under a state grant agreement worked out with the town, the land trust will receive $188,000 toward the $470,000 purchase price of the land.
“They see we’re getting the job done,” David Brant, executive director since 2008, stated in the press release. “Since the conception of the campaign, we have acquired and protected 190 acres of open space, thanks to the generosity and commitment of our Capital Campaign supporters. The momentum continues and time is of the essence.
“We have identified 993 additional acres as significantly important for the Green Corridor in our region, and the funds raised allow us to act quickly before these properties are gone forever. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to preserve these important open spaces in our part of Fairfield County,” Brant stated.
The Green Corridor, launched in 2020, is a 40,000-acre area identified and mapped by ALT linking protected preserves, undeveloped land, privately-owned backyards and small acreage into a greenway that is increasing biodiversity, protecting wildlife habitat, and water quality while building community resilience to climate change. Currently, the Green Corridor extends through Weston, Fairfield, Westport, Easton, Wilton, Redding, Southport, Bridgeport and Monroe, according to ALT’s website.
In the press release, ALT thanked Green Corridor Capital Campaign donors, as well as the dozens of volunteers, board and staff who worked on the Green Corridor Campaign. They include capital campaign volunteers Amy Harlacker, Lissy Newman, Paul Shiverick, Jeff Galdenzi, Ellen Greenberg, Walter Greene, Bob McHugh, Tracy Pennoyer, Michael Tunstall and Brant.