2019 Annual Report is here!

 

Check out the past year of wins for the wild. With 7,945 new forever-wild acres protected in 2019, the Northeast Wilderness Trust is working hard to create a wilder future for this region.

 

In the News: Bramhall Wilderness Preserve

 

The new Bramhall Wilderness Preserve has been getting some attention across Vermont!

Check out the coverage in Valley News, Mountain Times, and VT Digger!

As the first forever-wild land that has been privately protected in the Chateauguay No-Town Conservation Area, the creation of this 359-acre wilderness is a significant achievement. After several years of hard work and fundraising, the Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased this property in April 2020. The land is just south of the Appalachian Trail, and is traversed by headwaters of the Ottauquechee River that provide pristine habitat for native brook trout. Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and the Vermont River Conservancy will co-hold a forever-wild easement on the land, which will ensure its perpetual protection. We are still fundraising to secure the long-term stewardship of the land. You can help by making a donation to support the Bramhall Wilderness Preserve.

 

Meet a Forever-Wild Circle Member

Meet Brett Engstrom, an ecologist, a Wilderness Trust board member, and a new monthly donor as part of the Forever-Wild Circle. Brett first became involved in Northeast Wilderness Trust in the early 2000s, when he was hired to conduct ecological inventories of Champlain Valley properties.

“When I learned more about the Wilderness Trust from other naturalists, I realized they were doing really important work that no one else was doing,” says Brett. “They’re allowing natural processes to play out, which is what really thrills me as a naturalist.”

Forever-Wild Circle members, like Brett, provide Northeast Wilderness Trust with reliable support through monthly donations. These gifts create a steady financial base that allows the Wilderness Trust focus less on fundraising in order to take the long view and focus on protecting wild landscapes for nature and people. Learn more about the Forever-Wild Circle here!

“Forever-Wild is a radical, much-needed way of looking at the landscape,” says Brett. “So I’m a staunch supporter now.”

This year, the Wilderness Trust is thanking new and current Forever-Wild Circle members with custom bandannas. Printed on hemp and organic cotton cloth, they feature the artwork of Vermont painter Patricia Leahey Meriam and are hand-dyed with homegrown Vermont indigo by Honey Hill Studios.

Brett regularly uses his new bandanna while doing ecological field work across the Northeast, or when hiking the town and state forests near his hometown of Marshfield, VT. “The bottom line for me is supporting the organization for the long term in a steady way; it makes all the sense in the world,” says Brett. “And to get a bandanna on top of it is just gravy!”

We invite you to become a monthly donor and join the Forever-Wild Circle. You will receive a custom 2020 bandanna (while supplies last) as our thanks for your generous support of wilderness conservation!

 

Slime Molds Galore!

Animal, vegetable, mineral…or none of the above? Learn about the surprising lives of slime molds (myxomycetes) in our Slime Mold naturalist presentation by Stewardship Director Shelby Perry, which was hosted live on April 27, 2020.

Honey comb coral slime mold, by Shelby Perry

Keep on learning with these resources

 

Wapack Hike for the Wild

When four best friends contemplated how to scratch their hiking itch during this era of social-distancing, they decided to through-hike the 21.5-mile Wapack Trail to raise $5,000 for wilderness. Hikers Tom and Suzanne Perry of Londonderry, NH, and Emilie-Noelle Provost and Robert Hamilton of Lowell, MA, had section hiked much of the Wapack in the past, but wanted to do something special this time—something that would make a difference. So the friends decided they would turn their hike into a Hike for the Wild fundraiser to give back to the wild places that give them hope and resilience through these challenging times.

Emilie-Noelle Provost, Robert Hamilton, and Suzanne and Tom Perry on one of their many hikes, snowshoeing in Concord, NH in Feburary, 2020.


“We love the Wapack and appreciate that such a beautiful wild area has been saved from development,” Emilie-Noelle said. “All of us have gotten such joy from being in the wilderness. Spending time in nature is especially important to us now. It helps relieve the stress and anxiety brought on by this uncertain time. We wanted to do our through hike as a fundraiser to help make sure that special places like the Wapack will always be there.”

Support the Wapack Hike for the Wild!

Emilie-Noelle, Robert, Suzanne, and Tom will hike the Wapack on June 6, 2020, with June 7 and 13 held as rain dates. Their goal is to raise $5,000 for Northeast Wilderness Trust’s effort to add 15 acres to Binney Hill Wilderness Preserve, through which the Wapack Trail winds. Their hike will begin at Wapack National Wildlife Refuge in Greenfield, NH, and end at Watatic Mountain State Wildlife Area in Ashburnham, MA.

Northeast Wilderness Trust has protected 1,935 acres surrounding the historic Wapack Trail. Most recently, the 47-acre Sawtelle Addition was protected in Feburary of 2020, completing the permanent protection of the entire shoreline of Binney Pond, and safeguarding a beautiful section of the trail that meanders over boardwalks alongside the pond.

Emilie-Noelle, Robert, Suzanne and Tom met at Framingham State University in Framingham, MA, and have remained steadfast hiking companions for 20 years. After talking about doing a through hike of the trail for several months, the emphasis on hiking locally due to the COVID-19 pandemic helped them decide that there was no time like the present.

The Perrys have hiked the French Alps and have climbed all 48 of the White Mountains’ 4000-footers. They have nearly completed hiking those 4000-footers in winter. Hamilton and Provost have climbed mountains in the Whites and the Berkshires, and in Norway and Quebec.

 

 

Accreditation Renewal: Public Comments Welcome

 

Northeast Wilderness Trust is applying for a second renewal of accreditation through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Northeast Wilderness Trust complies with national quality standards. Comments on Northeast Wilderness Trust’s application will be most useful by July 15, 2020.

Click here for the full list of standards that address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust.

Click here for a full statement from the Wilderness Trust about the renewal process.

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org, or email your comment to info@landtrustaccreditation.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

 

Rewilding Earth Podcast features Shelby Perry

Northeast Wilderness Trust’s Stewardship Director, Shelby Perry, talked with Rewilding Earth about the ins and outs of how we work to rewild the Northeast.

Welcoming Lillie Howell

 

Northeast Wilderness Trust is delighted to welcome Lillie Howell to the team. Lillie joins us as the Wildlands Partnership Intern, helping to connect more land trusts with wilderness conservation to accelerate the pace of protecting wild places across the Northeast. She is a student at Vermont Law School and University of Vermont. We asked Lillie about what motivates her to connect to and protect wilderness.

Lillian Howell

What makes you excited about the Wilderness Trust’s mission?

​Northeast Wilderness Trust’s mission excites me because it is a refreshing antidote to the norms and values that control our culture, economy, and prevailing land management regimes in the United States. While humans certainly benefit from wildlands in many ways, the Wilderness Trust’s mission of protecting nature for nature’s sake takes us out of the spotlight and places us back where we are meant to be: one species amongst an interconnected ecosystem, rather than a dominant species in control.

Tell me about a formative experience that seeded your love for nature/the wild.

The most formative moments I had when I was young were not grandiose experiences in a National Park or on an extended backpacking trip, but when I was growing up in Nashville. At one point my dad lived across the street from a Civil War battle site which had been protected as a public park. It was a small property surrounded by development and consisted of a short forested trail. This park wasn’t advertised and there were no signs, so almost no one knew about it. I would go there all the time and wander around in the woods by myself and sit next to this one fallen log for hours at a time. It has helped me to remember even today that our love of nature can happen in unexpected places; it doesn’t always have to be an expansive wilderness for us to feel connected or inspired.

What parts of your work are you looking forward to tackling?

I am looking forward to forging relationships with land trusts throughout the region and to hopefully foster a sense of community between the many organizations that are dedicated to wilderness conservation in New England. I think the Wildlands Partnership is an amazing opportunity to expand the Wilderness Trust’s reach and to bring a diverse array of stakeholders together to achieve a common goal. I also think it is important to be reminded of the bigger picture and to see how what I’ve learned thus far in graduate school is applied in “the real world.”