Published by Denise Coffey on October 21, 2019
The Wyndham Land Trust was recently awarded a grant for $20,000, from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.
The northeastern Connecticut land trust will use the funds to expand the Bull Hill Project, in Thompson.
At 975 acres, the Bull Hill preserve is still a work in process.
In 2016, the WLT purchased 254 acres that was part of a 3,000 acre forest. Preserving the largely undeveloped area became a priority for WLT for several reasons. It’s a rare piece of unbroken forest; it serves as the headlands of Little River, which is a source of water for Putnam; and it provides habitat for a variety of wildlife, including some species of special concern.
Since 2016, the nonprofit has been building on that initial purchase with additions of smaller parcels.
The WLT will use the funding to add to the protected property. The preserve already offers sweeping views of Woodstock from an overlook, which is accessible from a trail managed by WLT. The protected forested lands provide important wildlife habitat as well as play a central role in helping to reduce area flooding, according to WLT board member Andy Rzeznikiewicz.
“The goal of this local land protection effort is to ensure this remarkable block of forest remains unscathed by haphazard, sprawling development and provides recreational access to the public for hiking, birdwatching, and educational programs,” said Rzeznikiewicz.
WLT board member and Thompson resident Ron Tillen said preserving the land also preserves a town’s history and landscapes. The nonprofit has been working with local families who have donated land to this and other conservation projects since its founding.
“We find people love being part of this conservation project,” Tillen said.
CFEC Program Director Jennifer O'Brien said preservation of the natural resources in the foundation’s 42 town region is an important concern.
“With climate change and extreme weather events, we understand the importance of maintaining the rural beauty, woodlands, and wildlife habitats that are critical to the region,” she said.
Environmental preservation is one of CFEC’s four goals. Since 1975, the foundation has donated $2.2 million in grants to projects aimed at protecting environmentally significant ecosystems, engaging youth in environmental education and activities in natural settings, promoting environmental stewardship, and making the case for the connection between the health of the environment and the physical and mental health of people.
For more information on the Wyndham Land Trust, go to https://www.wyndhamlandtrust.org. For more information on CFEC, go to https://www.cfect.org.