Jane Pratt Farmland Is Preserved Forever
The Bridgewater Land Trust has partnered with the Connecticut State Department of Agriculture to protect the Jane Pratt Farm Preserve from future development. The 104 acre preserve located on Town Line Road in Bridgewater is now part of the state’s Farmland Preservation Program, ensuring that the land is protected forever for agricultural uses. The Bridgewater Land Trust received $4,500 per acre which represents the value of the development rights of the property.
Bridgewater Land Trust President Ed Franklin is thrilled that the process is complete, and the land has important additional protection. “With this permanent agricultural restriction, this land will be protected as a working farm for the benefit of the Bridgewater community forever. We are thrilled to be the first land trust to enroll in the program. There are cases where land trusts have been given land that may not be fully protected, and we hope that this may pave the way for others to do the same.”
The voluntary Farmland Preservation Program, managed by the Department of Agriculture, has been protecting farmland throughout the state since 1978. They have now protected over 46,000 acres with a long-term goal of 130,000 acres.
The Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy (NCLC) played a key role in assisting the Bridgewater Land Trust in this process. NCLC helps farmers and farm owners throughout Litchfield County successfully enroll in the state’s program. Paul Elconin, NCLC’s director of land conservation, said agricultural lands in Connecticut are at great risk of loss: “Local farmland in Northwest Connecticut is one of the more endangered landscapes we have. Since 2018, NCLC has enrolled five working farms in the state program, supporting local economies and helping to ensure the availability of Connecticut grown products for the future.”
The funds Bridgewater Land Trust received will help advance its conservation mission and provide funding for needed maintenance, repairs and upgrades to its farm properties at both the Jane Pratt Preserve and Town Line Farm Preserve. These funds will also enable the Trust to help protect additional natural and working lands in Bridgewater.
Renovations at Town Line Barn Complete
The iconic barn at our Town Line Farm Preserve, recently received much needed structural support in the area near the two large blue silos. The work performed included: replacing the foundation and foundation walls, shoring up and stabilizing the structure, installing new drainage pipes and replacing the old siding with new. In addition, over 30 new windows and 6 sliding doors were installed throughout the barn.
BWLT Board Member Joe Wilcox (pictured below) managed the project and volunteered his time assisting with the work. This reduced the cost of the job substantially. Many thanks to Joe and the hired contractors Decio Tenreiro and A&L Masonry.
Organizational Changes Announced
The Bridgewater Land Trust is starting the New Year with changes to its organizational support and structure. Dawn Burdick (pictured on left), who has served as the Trust’s Administrator for 15 years, will be stepping down from her current role. She will continue to assist in accounting and finance. Dawn has been an integral part of the BWLT’s success and has served in many capacities including fundraising, marketing, administrative support and accounting. A heartfelt thank you to Dawn for her many years of dedicated service.
Julie Stuart (pictured on right) will be transitioning from serving as a volunteer Board member to a part-time Executive Director. Julie brings with her 15 years on the BWLT Board and 8 years of experience as the Development Director with the Southbury Land Trust. Julie will be leading our efforts in administration, marketing, land management, donor/member relations and fundraising.
We are confident that our new team will continue to support our mission while expanding our outreach and programs. We anticipate an exciting year ahead.