Time in a Bottle
Green Award Winner 2017 Providing Green Goods or Services: Aspetuck Land Trust
Founded in 1966, Aspetuck Land Trust has maintained its mission: to preserve and conserve open space for the benefit and education of the public. Facing continuous pressure from land developers and limited financial resources, this member-supported non-profit has labored hard toward its goal of preserving the open space in Fairfield County.
In 2016, its 50th-anniversary year, Aspetuck Land Trust preserved nearly 30 acres of green space. Like the rest of the group's conserved open space, it is free from commercial or residential development forever. Now, as a result of its ongoing efforts, the total amount of green space preserved by Aspetuck Land Trust in Westport, Weston, Fairfield, Easton, Wilton, Redding, and Bridgeport exceeds 1,700 acres—about three square miles. This open space provides a safe refuge for more than 500 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, insects and plants, and is actively managed by the trust to ensure their protection.
Land stewardship, or the work the organization does to improve wildlife green-space habitats, is also a vital part of the trust's mission. Says Aspetuck Land Trust steward Jacquie Littlejohn: “It’s not just important to preserve land, but it’s important to properly manage the land.” Examples of this in 2016 alone include completing a three-year project to restore Saugatuck River salt marshes, creating a Monarch Butterfly Waystation at the Sasqua Wildflower Preserve, and assisting the LeGallienne Bird Sanctuary to return the land to its former glory as a haven for birds. The organization also spent nearly $68,000 on property maintenance at its 45 trailed nature preserves featuring more than 40 miles of hiking trails maintained for the public.
Ultimately, this green space becomes a perceptible measure of the land trust’s ongoing success sustaining the quality of life in Connecticut.
In the words of one participant in a recent land-trust member survey, “Aspetuck Land Trust provides an oasis for my soul—a connection to the earth, peace and calm in well cared for and maintained spaces.” With its monumental impact on preserving natural beauty in an increasingly concrete world, Aspetuck Land Trust is an invaluable ally to the earth and its inhabitants in our corner of the planet.