Photo by: Robert Grigg

Greenprint secures $200,000 in Regional Funding for Cornwall's Trinity Forest

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Trinity Forest's 317 acres overlook the Housatonic River and help connect more than 1000 acres of protected land between West Cornwall and Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut. Saving this land is a regional conservation priority as well as the top land protection project of Cornwall Conservation Trust, so when the Litchfield Hills Greenprint saw an opportunity to secure private outside funding to make it possible, we jumped at the opportunity.

Cornwall Conservation Trust (CCT), one of 24 land trusts and conservation organizations that are members of the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative, negotiated the purchase of Trinity Forest for $715,000.   They needed to move quickly, however, as the deal could have fallen through if the owner received an offer for the entire property which includes an extensive conference center.  CCT received $464,750 from the State of Connecticut under an Open Space Land and Water Aquisition (OSLWA) grant, and Barton Jones, President of CCT was faced with raising the remaining matching funds locally.  Even with 100% participation by its board members, it wasn't going to be easy to close the gap

The Litchfield Hills Greenprint has been very successful helping to direct public dollars to important land protection projects in our region, and has started to identify and secure significant private funding for our partners' efforts as well.  We raised $100,000 in private funding in 2013 for Norfolk Land Trust's Pine Mountain Preserve, all from nerw sources and half of which coming from outside the community.  We brought $150,000 in funding from the Wiederhold Foundation to a project by Salisbury Land Trust in 2014, along with $335,000 from the Housatonic River Natural Resources Damages Fund.  Now we saw an opportunity to link a family foundation in our region that had extra funding to distribute by the end of the year with another great conservation project.

We brought the funder and CCT together and it quickly became clear that the project was an excellent fit for the foundation's interests.  It was decided to make the gift anonymously through HVA which sponsors the Greenprint. "Not only will we be able to preserve Trinity Forest" said Jones, " but HVA's Litchfield Hills Greenprint Alliance will be strengthened by showing the power of fund raising through a collective effort." 

One of the original goals of the Greenprint has been to develop new sources of private capital to support regionally important land protection projects.  With successes like these, we are starting to see donors directing significant funding to save special places outside their home communities while still supporting the efforts of their local land trusts.  This trend is likely to increase in the coming years and we look forward to celebrating more of these partnerships together.

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Photo by: Wendy Carlson