|PO Box 193
Middlebury, CT 06762
2022 ANNUAL UPDATE
On May 8, 2022, Middlebury Land Trust celebrated its 53rd anniversary.We now protect 1,950 acres of open space-886 acres owned outright and 1064 acres in conservation easements. For detailed informafion on MLT, including maps and notices of current events, please visit our website.
Thank you for your membership and support, past and present. If you have not yet renewed your membership for 2023, please take a moment to do so now, either by mailing your contribution or by clicking the "Donate" button on our website. We receive no Town or other outside funding and rely solely upon member contributions. If you can stretch your support a bit beyond basic membership, we would be especially grateful. Going forward, thanks to updated membership software, individual renewal notifications of then current members will be sent out shortly before a member's one-year anniversary. Benefits of membership include fishing privileges at Lake Elise and Larkin Pond, use of chain saws on trail work days, and voting at the Annual Meeting of Members.
In July of 2022 we received a very generous donation of 4.373 acres of land on Park Road from 1685 Straits, LLC, affiliated with The Metro Realty Group, Ltd. of Farmington that is developing a high-quality medical building at the corner of Park Road and Straits Turnpike. Their donation of the portion of their property not needed for their project is a direct addition to our contiguous Juniper Hill (Sperry Pond) Preserve, bringing the total acreage of this, our largest, preserve to 194 acres. Important conservation values include habitat, wildlife corridors, intact forest, wetlands, viewscape, and more. In September of 2022 we received, from the family of deceased long-time Board member Wayne Foote, a conservation easement over 0.3002 acre of his former property on Breakneck Hill Road. This easement will allow for several parking spaces and access to Abbotts Pond and the Foote Path trail. We are immensely grateful for such gifts, conserved forever for the benefit and enjoyment of area residents.
2022 was a busy year with a number of public events: a spring botany walk, a summer bird walk, a winter owl prowl, a bear talk, our annual Fenn's Farm Tour Day (with two special hikes this year), our annual Foote Path hike on CT Trails Day, the annual meeting and volunteer recognition, two trail work days, participation in Middlebury's Earth Day clean-up, a highly successful Give Local fund-raiser for the planned dog park, and our two regular fundraising campaigns in support of our overall operations. Many of these activities are slated to take place again during 2023.
MLT has a beautiful new logo, developed to reflect an updated mission, which is as previously "to acquire and conserve open space" but now also adds "for the benefit and enjoyment of the community." We update our website periodically and post all public events, and we are also to be found regularly on Facebook. Board member Janine Sullivan-Wiley continues to write her popular monthly MLT-related articles for the Middlebury Bee lntelligencer.
As required every year, our volunteers monitored every one of our 65 properties over the course of 2022, always identifying work to be done but not finding any new adverse issues. A long-standing encroachment litigation was successfully settled, with the damages repaired. A major project fully documenting all of our holdings continues to advance and should be completed by the end of this current year. We are replacing our existing preserve signage and adding more, a project that began in 2022 and will be completed in 2024. There have been some unforeseen delays in our creation of a dog park. The project continues to progress, however, with the surveying and site plan work now back on track.
Having led MLT since 2010 and been active on the Board for many years before that, I will be stepping down as President in June of 2024. A succession plan has been developed and approved by the Board comprised of two parts. Two present Board members will share the executive leadership role. In addition, MLT has entered into an administrative services agreement with Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust in Woodbury to assist with back- office tasks like donation processing, bookkeeping, records management, publicity, events assistance, and similar functions. This essentially replaces our previous part-time administrative assistant (who moved out of state last summer) with the entire team at Flanders, availing us of the individual expertise of a number of very capable people. This arrangement has been working extremely well and greatly facilitates the work of our own volunteers.
MLT is proud to have been fully accredited by the national Land Trust Alliance on 2/1/2020. The accreditation term is five years, and we are beginning to work on our reaccreditation application due in 2024. The timing of this effort, which reviews each and every aspect of our work, coordinates well with our coming transition of leadership. Equipped with the knowledge gained through the reaccreditation process, our team will be well prepared going forward.
In Memoriam: I am sad to report the loss of two long-time Board members, both of whom contributed mightily to the work of MLT. Curtis V. (Curt) Titus was a Board member and MLT's secretary and attorney for many decades, in fact handling every one of our land and easement acquisitions from MLT's founding to the time of his death last July 26. Leavenworth Porter (Lem) Sperry, Jr., was MLT's President from 1985 to 2010, responsible for much of what today characterizes our organization. In 2019 Lem was recognized by the Connecticut Land Conservation Council with its highest award for conservation work in the state. Over the years Lem and his family donated almost all of the land making up our Juniper Hill (Sperry Pond) Preserve, the former Sperry Estate where Lem played as a boy. Those names forever memorialize his generosity, as does Sperry House which we named in his honor when it became our Middlebury office. Following his death this past November 15th , we received one final gift in the form of an extremely generous bequest.
Financial: MLT is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 public charity, receiving $33,182 in 2022 annual giving and the remainder of its operating income from previous public support of its endowment. Our expenses were allocated 57% ($48,882) to our program of land conservation, 35% ($29,963) to management and general (including accounting and insurance), and 7% ($6,343) to fundraising. Our investments and cash stood at $1,893,453 at year end, with our net property values at $3,917,582.
My thanks to all those serving MLT as volunteer Officers and/or Board members, as volunteers on Trail Work Days or otherwise, and as supporters of our work on behalf of the community.
W. Scott Peterson, M.D.
An accredited nonprofit land trust, incorporated in 1969 to acquire and conserve open space for the benefit and enjoyment of the community