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Preserving open space for 50 years

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Granby Land Trust celebrates 50th anniversary

Special to Today Magazine

​• This article was first published in ​Today Magazine, our monthly publication

• Board president Rick Orluk answered this Q&A for the Granby Land Trust

GRANBY LAND TRUST P.O. Box 23 • Granby, CT • 06035 Email — Year Established 1972

Mission — The Granby Land Trust preserves Granby’s natural heritage through the conservation of its scenic vistas, open space corridors, wildlife habitat, ecologically sensitive areas and agricultural land.

Most fulfilling aspect of your work?

The most fulfilling aspect of this work is knowing that the land we protect will be preserved forever. Also, when we are given land, it’s fulfilling to satisfy the wishes of our land donors and to honor their legacies in a significant way.

Your biggest obstacle, and how you overcome it?

Land is a finite resource, fragmentation is harming our wildlife populations, and climate change is real. Sometimes we feel like we’re in a race against time, but we keep at it and hope others will join the fight.

Most satisfying accomplishment?

There are so many. Here are a few:

(1) Securing major gifts

(2) Growing a vibrant and involved membership

(3) Providing area residents with places to connect with nature and each other

(4) Working with a dynamic board of directors that brings varied skills, diverse perspectives and a can-do attitude to everything we do

Goals for the next 1-5 years?

We will continue to make smart, strategic land acquisitions; responsibly manage the land in our care; grow our membership; provide people with opportunities to enjoy, understand and appreciate nature; and grow awareness of the importance of land preservation.

Volunteers — 90-100 annually. We have 17 volunteer board members and 46 property stewards. Property stewards are our eyes and ears on our properties, helping us ensure that the properties are in good shape, our trails are safe, our boundaries are being respected, etc.

Other opportunities to serve the GLT include the Youth Conservation Corps for kids age 13-18; periodic Trail/Property Cleanup Days for all members; and special events, such as our annual art show and our annual meeting, which are managed by volunteer committees working with our board of directors.

Scarlet Tanager Outlook • Schlicht Preserve • Granby — photo by Don Shaw Jr.

Anecdote that provides a window into your ethos:

The Granby Land Trust has had a long history of supporters — ranging from Mary Edwards to Seth and Lucy Holcombe to the Godard Family to Ann Pelka to Jamie Gamble — who have cared deeply for their properties throughout their lives and donated them to the GLT with an interest in preserving Granby’s natural heritage and providing a place for Granby’s wildlife and people to thrive forever. These gifts are investments in the future, and it is an honor for us to steward them.

Interesting stats + numbers:

• The GLT is responsible for the protection of nearly 3,000 acres of open space. We own 2,127 acres and we hold conservation easements on an additional 794 acres.

• The Granby Land Trust earned national accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance in 2014 and renewed its accreditation in 2019, proving that it is committed to professional excellence, responsible governance and lasting stewardship of its properties.

• The GLT’s annual membership includes more than 400 families.

What do you see as the top three topics and/or issues in land conservation today?

Land conservation is the key to a healthy future. Conserved, well-managed land ensures clean water, clean air and healthy food. It provides protection from natural disasters such as floods and drought. It provides wildlife corridors and encourages biodiversity. And it absorbs and stores carbon, slowing climate change. It also gives us — and our children and grandchildren — places to unplug and connect with nature.

Besides donations, how is your work funded?

Our work is primarily funded through financial gifts and gifts of land. In addition, we have received grants from the state of Connecticut and the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and we have received a number of very generous legacy gifts.

How closely do you work with other agencies?

We work very closely with other Granby nonprofit organizations — including the Granby Public Library, the Salmon Brook Historical Society, the Granby Agricultural Commission, the Friends of Holcomb Farm, McLean Game Refuge, the Granby Artists Association, Boy Scouts and the Granby Education Foundation. In addition, we work with other preservation organizations including the Land Trust Alliance, the Nature Conservancy and the Connecticut Land Conservation Council.

What do you appreciate most about the Farmington Valley?

Open space, hiking trails, family farms and orchards, rolling hills, stone walls, pristine waterways, healthy forests, diverse wildlife.

What constructive change would you like to see in the Valley?

Land conservation organizations throughout the Valley work together, and we hope to grow these connections in the future. We would like to see smart development and thoughtful preservation. It’s a balancing act.

Board Officers:

• Rick Orluk — President

• Dave Emery — Vice President

• David Russell — Controller

• Kathy Lombardo — Treasurer

• Leslie Judge — Secretary

Number of Employees — 0

Further comment — We have an active presence on social media and encourage folks to follow the Granby Land Trust on Facebook and Instagram. +

This article first appeared in the August 2022 edition of Today Magazine, our monthly publication, as part of the cover-story package

• Today Online version of cover story

Dismal Brook Wildlife Preserve • North Granby — photo by Don Shaw Jr.

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