TRAPROCK RIDGE LAND CONSERVANCY

Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy formed in April 2023 from the merger of East Granby Land Trust, West Hartford Land Trust, and Wintonbury Land Trust in Bloomfield. With a regional approach and shared resources, we look forward to helping our communities protect the environment, preserve local farms, and connect residents with the outdoors from the ridgeline to the rivers.

This blog will provide updates on the merger process as we get things organized. Jump to the bottom to get involved by becoming a member, donating, or volunteering. Or click on the logos below to visit each original land trust website for more information on how our members and volunteers are hard at work on conservation projects and education events.

Next Events

Annual Plant and Seedling Sale by North Central Conservation District will be held at Hawk Hill Farm. Order your plants by April 3rd at http://conservect/northcentral/ and click on Plant and Seedling Sale. They have great descriptions and information on amazing native plants. Pick up will be at Hawk Hill Farm April 19-20, 2024 prior to our guided walk.

Guided Walk at Hawk Hill Farm
, 20 Duncaster Rd. Bloomfield
When: April 20th, 2024 1:30pm, check trlandconservancy.org for an update on time.
Join us after the North Central Conservation District annual plant sale at Hawk Hill Farm for a trail walk with Ron Pitz, DEEP Certified Master Wildlife Conservationist and retired Executive Director of The Knox Park Foundation and Peter Picone, Urban Wildlife Biologist from State of CT DEEP. Ron and Peter will showcase the invasive control work we have done on the property as well as identify and discuss connections between native plants and trees along the way. More details & links to RSVP in advance. 

Earth Day Town Clean Up
East Granby Middle School Youth Action Council and Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy are asking your group to join them in a town-wide clean up on Sunday, April 21st, 2023 from 10-12 pm. We are asking all town organizations and small groups of any kind to commit to cleaning up one mile of East Granby roads. We will provide the bags and vests for your group and DPW will pick up all trash bags Monday, April 22nd. Let’s all work together to keep our town looking great. Note: All youth groups must have at least two adults in attendance, including high school groups. To register your group go to: https://eastgranbyct.myrec.com/, click on programs, and choose youth services as the category.

Bloomfield Community Clean Up Day 
April 27th 9:30-noon Meet at Bloomfield Park, Rec and Leisure Services, 330 Park Ave. to come help pick up debris to keep our streets clean. Gloves, pickers, bags, and safety vests will be provided. This event is co-sponsored by Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy, Bloomfield Beautification Committee, Dept. of Public Works,and Bloomfield Parks, Rec and Leisure Services. Sign up at: https://bloomfieldct.myrec.com
 
Drawing Native Flowers
May 1st, 2024 5:30 p.m.
Learn how to draw native flowers: Bottle Gentian, Wood Lily, and New England Aster with local  artist, Hayli. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Register at egpl.org

River Smart Program
, Extended Nature Lecture Series
May 1st, 6:30 Virtual Program
Join us to learn how to be River Smart! Farmington River Watershed Assoc. Education Manager Heather Geist and Park Watershed Director, Mary Rickel Pelletier, will be discussing stormwater pollution, water conservation and the recent updates to the North Branch River Management Plan. Come learn the importance of water in our area and how to protect it. More details & links to RSVP in advance. 

Spring Bird Walk
May 18th 7am, Northwest Park, 145 Lang Rd., Windsor
Bring your binoculars for birding along the fields, woods, and reservoir at Northwest Park. You will learn to identify birds by sight and sound. Led by Brian Kleinman, Riverside Reptiles Education Center owner and member of Hartford Audubon Society. Dress in layers. More details & links to RSVP in advance. 

Connecticut Trails Day Hike
June 2nd, 2024 9:30-11:30
Starting at the parking lot for Farmington Canal Trail on Copper Hill Rd., East Granby, we will proceed south along the rail trail until we come to the trail for Newgate Wildlife Management Are. We will take this trail to the Newgate Pand. We will return either along the same path or take the power line cut north to reconnect to the road.
Register at: trailsday.org, choose East Granby, Newgate Pond Hike.


Nature Lecture: Threatened & Endangered Birds of Prey: Wednesday, June 10, 6:00 – 7:00 pm, Hybrid. Wildlife rehabilitators and birds from Horizon Wings will share the recent history of declining bird populations and efforts to help them recover. More details & links to RSVP in advance

Where to Explore?

Passive recreational trails have been developed on properties where the impact on soils, wetlands, and wildlife will be minimal, and the Land Conservancy welcomes and encourages public visitors. Here are quick links to trail descriptions on our original websites:

Visitor Guidelines  |  Great Marsh in East Granby  |  Griffin Marsh in East Granby  |  Hawk Hill Farm in Bloomfield  |  Pond Meadow in East Granby  |  Speer Preserve in Bloomfield  |  Stout Family Fields in Bloomfield  |  Van Otterloo Preserve in Bloomfield  |  

Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy Officially Established!

On April 10, 2023, Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy was established with plans to help our communities protect the environment, preserve local farming and connect residents with the outdoors. This completes the legal steps of a merger process set in motion when members of East Granby Land Trust, West Hartford Land Trust, and Bloomfield’s Wintonbury Land Trust voted earlier this year to combine forces.

Amanda Thompson, President of the Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy board of directors and President of the former East Granby Land Trust said, “Our land trusts served important roles preserving open space to maintain the character and quality of life residents enjoy in our communities. The formation of Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy will help the region better promote farmland, waterways, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and education for the benefit of current and future generations.”

The land trust’s mission is to conserve, improve and study the region’s natural resources for the public’s benefit, including the traprock ridge shared by the three towns and the Farmington River and Park River watersheds. The merger plan honors restrictions on how previously donated lands can be used and continues projects already underway in each town. Members and volunteers now protect a combined 47 properties totaling 637 acres that include numerous nature preserves, four working farms, community gardens and education programs.

Pooling Resources to Boost and Sustain Efforts

Victor Herson, President of the former Wintonbury Land Trust in Bloomfield and a member of the new land trust board said, “We are excited to join forces with our neighbors and strengthen efforts to conserve land and connect people with nature. Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy will provide the foundation for efficiencies and expanding resources that ensure sustainability and success in the future.”

David Sagers, Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy’s Treasurer and President of the former West Hartford Land Trust, added, “The merger is the culmination of almost two years of collaboration and planning to increase the sustainability of land acquisition and conservation in our community. This brings together a larger group of like-minded supporters to significantly increase our impact on the environment across the region.”

Forging the Partnership

Leaders from the three land trusts began exploring opportunities to work together in 2021 during workshops with the Connecticut Land Conservation Council. The Council provides training and recommends policies to ensure the long-term viability of land conservation efforts in the state.

The land trusts received a grant from The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation to study the feasibility of merging and to develop a plan. Representatives worked with Sharon Danosky, president and owner of the Danosky & Associates consulting firm, and Ed Spinella, chair of the tax-exempt organizations group at the law offices of Murtha Cullina. The Pro Bono Partnership also provided free legal services from Donna Brooks and Tyler Archer at Shipman & Goodwin and Matthew Schernecke, Zohra Sayedy, Aafke Pronk, Rob Cortinas, and Ronald Silverman at Hogan Lovells.

Aaron Lefland, Deputy Director of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, noted, “Land trusts make a promise to conserve land in perpetuity. East Granby, West Hartford and Wintonbury Land Trusts have demonstrated their commitment to upholding that promise by coming together to form a stronger, more enduring organization.”

Bob Canace, Senior Program Officer at The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, added, “The Foundation congratulates the East Granby, West Hartford and Wintonbury Land Trusts for having the vision to map out a new future that will take advantage of each organization’s history, enthusiasm and vision to continue protecting natural areas and offering community-based programs.”

Getting Involved

Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy’s new board of directors met for the first time on April 26 in Bloomfield. Members of the merging land trusts elected directors and officers from each of the three towns, including student directors from East Granby Land Trust’s internship program.

Members and volunteers will organize new committees for Land Acquisition, Land Conservation, Education & Outreach, Fundraising & Membership, Governance, and Finance. To volunteer for a committee or make a contribution, use the forms at the bottom.

Members Approve Merger

In March 2023, after soliciting feedback from members, volunteers, donors, and partners, each land trust’s board of directors voted to recommend a plan of merger to their members. By the end of the month each land trust held a special meeting where members voted to approve the Plan in accordance with Section 33-1155 of the Connecticut Revised Nonstock Corporation Act.

Preparing the Plan

In August 2022 the three land trust boards began formally studying the feasibility of forming a regional land trust. We confidentially shared details about one another’s property records, financials, and operations and negotiated how to structure the new organization. Highlights of the proposal included:

  • A new name! The traprock ridge comprising Peak Mountain, Hatchett Hill, and Talcott Mountain is the dominant natural feature shared by our communities.
  • A pledge to look for ways to conserve land across all three towns, large and small, from the ridgeline to the rivers. Also commitments to continue protecting local farms and using selected lands for education programs and public recreation trails.
  • All current memberships will carry forward into the new land trust. Any specific instructions or restrictions on the use of donated lands and monies will, too.
  • A new board will be elected with directors and officers from each land trust, including student directors from the internship program.
  • New bylaws and an updated certificate of incorporation.

We were assisted by Sharon Danosky, president of Danosky & Associates, and Ed Spinella, chair of the tax-exempt organizations group at Murtha Cullina. The Pro Bono Partnership also provided free legal services from Donna Brooks and Tyler Archer at Shipman & Goodwin and Matthew Schernecke, Zohra Sayedy, Aafke Pronk, Rob Cortinas, and Ronald Silverman at Hogan Lovells.

Forging the Partnership

In recent years the Connecticut Land Conservation Council and Farmington River Watershed Association hosted regional summits and workshops to help conservation leaders strengthen the impact and sustainability of our work. Increasingly East Granby Land Trust, West Hartford Land Trust, and Wintonbury Land Trust leaders observed our organizations had a lot in common.

In 2021 we received a grant from The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation and enlisted the help of Danosky & Associates to explore the potential mutual benefits of forming a regional land trust. Through a series of educational, get-to-know one another, and brainstorm sessions, our leaders concluded that we:

  • Share common visions and missions for land conservation that benefits our communities for generations to come;
  • Have limited capacity to expand our visions and missions as far as we would like;
  • Seek to reach more people, bring more people onto our trails, and educate more people about the importance of land conservation to have a greater impact in our communities; and
  • Believe the best way to accomplish that could be to join forces by merging to form a regional land trust.

Get Involved – Be a Member, Make a Donation, or Volunteer

We invite you to contribute to these land conservation efforts or to become a new member. Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation. Online donations are processed securely via STRIPE.

We also welcome your questions, appreciate your suggestions, and invite you to volunteer for one of our committees – land conservation, land acquisition, education and outreach, fundraising and membership, or finance. Please contact us below.

Contact Us

Please fill out the form below.

    Photos from top to bottom: First meeting of the new Board of Directors, members gather in Bloomfield after the vote approving the plan of merger, Griffin Marsh in East Granby, Hawk Hill Farm in Bloomfield, Pond Meadow in East Granby, Pond Meadow Trail in East Granby, Sinnot Farm-The Knoll in Bloomfield, Still Road Preserve in West Hartford, Stout Family Fields in Bloomfield, Great Marsh in East Granby, and Speer Preserve in Bloomfield.

    Photos provided by Paula Jones, Aaron Lefland, Amanda Thompson, Alexa Tzanova, and each of the Land Trusts.

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