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The Wild Times: June

Bicknells Thrush

As I came to the edge of the woods,

Thrush music—Hark!

-Robert Frost, “Come In”

Dear Friend of the Wild,

Last month we shared that Mark Anderson, having served out his term as Board Chair, will soon transition to our Emeritus Board. Mark brought to his role not just renowned scientific leadership in conservation, but also infectious enthusiasm for wilderness and the wilderness ideal. His guidance has helped establish Northeast Wilderness Trust as a respected leader in forever-wild conservation.

Thanks to Mark, the Wilderness Trust staff, and our Board, we are poised for impact at a new scale as I begin my term as Board Chair. We are at work on a new Strategic Plan that will capitalize on this momentum and carry us to our 2030 goal of doubling the amount of land we currently protect, to a total of 160,000 acres. I look forward to sharing more details with you soon.

In the meantime, there are plenty of exciting June updates below. The Elmore Branch Addition, the third expansion of our Woodbury Mountain Wilderness Preserve, adds another irreplaceable ecosystem to our portfolio. This acquisition advances one of NEWT’s core goals: connecting habitat hotspots via wildlife corridors. Our commitment to rewilding the Northeast has earned us the Adirondack Council’s “Conservationist of the Year” award, an honor which we are thrilled to accept. In a new section, you’ll find photos of wildlife and wild landscapes thriving at our preserves, courtesy of our inimitable stewardship team.

Despite the daunting climate and biodiversity challenges we face, I am incredibly hopeful. This juncture—one of both difficulty and possibility—reminds me of when I first met Mark. It was in 2020, at the height of the pandemic. We took a walk in the woods as part of my interview process for an open Board position. It felt like our world was teetering, but I came away from our hike excited about the coming years and the healing power of rewilding. Then, as now, it was a time to forge ahead, create new wilderness, and keep our promise of a wilder future for generations to come. I am honored to follow in Mark’s trailblazing footsteps, and wildly enthusiastic about the change we can bring about together.

Onward,

Brian Tijan, Board Member and Incoming Board Chair

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Spotlight on Our Newest Property: Elmore Branch Addition Woodbury Mountain Wilderness Preserve, Vermont

The Wilderness Trust announced last month its latest land transaction, the Elmore Branch Addition to the Woodbury Mountain Wilderness Preserve. The Addition marks the third expansion of Woodbury Mountain, bringing the Preserve to a total of 6,257 forever-wild acres. Elmore Branch also strengthens a vital wildlife corridor connecting the Worcester Mountains and the Northeast Kingdom. Click here to read the official press release.

The 160-acre Addition is home to rewilding forests, pristine wetlands, and a significant section of the cold, clear waters of the Elmore Branch of the Lamoille River. Bobcat, Winter Wren, and native brook trout, among other terrestrial and aquatic species, all inhabit this special wildland. Thanks to your support, their habitat is now permanently protected from development.

NEWT Receives Conservationist of the Year Award

The Adirondack Council of New York recently announced that the Wilderness Trust is its “Conservationist of the Year.” The Council recognized NEWT “for its efforts to permanently protect forests, reconnect wildlife habitat, and reestablish wilderness areas from Maine to the Adirondack Park.”

“NEWT’s work across the Northern Forest allows for the permanent protection of sensitive ecological habitats on private lands and provides a conservation option that would otherwise be unavailable,” said Raul J. Aguirre, the Council’s Executive Director. “In the Adirondacks, NEWT’s wilderness ethic nicely complements the Forever Wild nature of our globally significant wilderness areas and public lands.”

In northern New York, the Wilderness Trust protects more than 10,000 acres across 18 preserves. These wildlands help keep the Adirondack Park true to its wild intentions. “The Adirondack Park is the world’s greatest modern example of rewilding and a source of enduring inspiration in our mission to protect the Northeast’s precious landscapes,” said NEWT President and CEO Jon Leibowitz. “We are delighted to accept this award, and to help uphold the promise that the Park will remain a bastion for wildlife, nature, and people into the future.”

Give & Receive

Shelby wearing a bandana.

Wondering how you can do your part to protect wild places?

With summer upon us and temperatures climbing, we’re wrapping up our Spring Appeal. To those who have already given, thank you! If you haven’t had a chance to donate yet, you still have time to support our work to conserve wildlands and ensure humans and wildlife alike enjoy the benefits of healthy ecosystems. By contributing, you help ensure that our shared future is wild, prosperous, and resilient.

New monthly supporters join our “Forever-Wild Circle” and receive a free bandana made with sustainably sourced hemp. Our 2024 design by Vermont artist Emily Hoffman celebrates some of the many plants and animals that can be found in the wild places we protect together. More information about Emily is available at her Instagram account (@emilyhoffmanart) and website.

Already a Forever-Wild Circle member? Increase your donation by any amount to receive this year’s bandana.

In Photos: This Month in the Field, by NEWT Staff

Our land stewards spend a lot of time in the field. In their rare free moments, they’ve been known to snap photos of the incredible landscapes, wildlife, and ecosystems that abound at NEWT preserves and easements.

Browse the photos below for a quick peek into June at NEWT lands across the Northeast. Click any photo to learn more about the preserve or easement where it was taken.

Above: Bear Pond Forest, New York, by Shelby Perry

First Row (left to right): Bear Pond Forest, New York, by Shelby Perry | Grasse River Wilderness Preserve, New York, by Janelle Jones; Second Row: Luna Moth at Grafton Forest Wilderness Preserve, Maine, by Becky Clough | Wapack Wilderness Conservation Easement, New Hampshire, by Joe Falconeiri | Veery Nest at Moriah Wilderness Preserve, New York, by Janelle Jones; Third Row: Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve, New York, by Janelle Jones | Grey Tree Frog at Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve, Massachusetts, by Joe Falconeiri.

Summer Listening, Curated by NEWT

What’s another way to track the change of seasons? Taking a peek at the listening choices of NEWT staff! We’ve been marking the transition from spring to summer with music. Enjoy a playlist for hotter weather curated by your friends at the Wilderness Trust.

Now Open: Applications for the Wildlands Partnership

The Wilderness Trust is pleased to announce that applications are now open for Phase III of its Wildlands Partnership program. Accredited land trusts in New England, northern New York, and the Hudson River Watershed are eligible to apply.

Since 2020, NEWT and participating land trusts have permanently conserved almost 9,000 forever-wild acres through the Partnership. Additional lands will gain permanent protections later this year as a result of the program’s successful second phase. Phase III will accelerate the pace of collaborative wildlands conservation in New England and northern New York.

By working with NEWT through the Partnership, your land trust will receive financial support for land acquisition and stewardship costs, staff time, and other project-related expenses while protecting your lands in perpetuity with a forever-wild easement held by NEWT. Land trusts enrolled in the Partnership may also be eligible to receive additional revenue through NEWT’s Wildlands Carbon initiative, an aggregated forest carbon project specially designed for the Wildlands Partnership.

Visit the Wildlands Partnership webpage for details and to submit an application.

NEWT in the News

Mapping Vermont’s wildlife highway: how advanced data is helping species one road at a time
State officials and conservation groups are employing a data-backed approach to identify and protect critical wildlife corridors in Vermont, which will aid species’ response to climate change. The effort is part of Vermont Conservation Design, a cross-sectoral initiative NEWT helped to create.

Wild Attention for Wildlands
Marissa Latshaw and Brian Hall survey recent policy developments and private conservation initiatives across New England. They find that policymakers, land trusts, and the public are paying more attention to wildlands conservation, a promising sign for wildlife, climate, and people.

Conservationist of the Year: Northeast Wilderness Trust
New York’s Adirondack Council announces that the Wilderness Trust is the recipient of its annual “Conservationist of the Year” award for protecting wildlands across the Northeast.

Wilder News

Are animals conscious? Some scientists now think they are
Many cultures, especially in the Western world, have long assumed animals lack the rich inner lives of humans. New experiments have cast doubt on those assumptions, prompting some researchers to call for a new approach to our relationship with our non-human counterparts.

Leopold’s legacy: New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness marks 100th anniversary
A century ago, the world’s first wilderness area was established in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest. The Gila Wilderness was the brainchild of Aldo Leopold, whose trailblazing legacy shapes wilderness conservation efforts to this day in the United States and abroad.

By a Stream in Vermont, a Glimpse of a Plant Last Seen a Century Ago
The rediscovery of a presumed-extinct plant, false mermaid-weed, has thrilled botanists, conservationists, and the public alike. The species, last documented in the wild more than 100 years ago, thrives in undisturbed riparian habitats, underscoring the boon of wildlands for sensitive flora and fauna.

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Photography: Bicknell’s Thrush image by Larry Master.