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MLT's major acquisition during 2021 was the addition, by purchase, of 13.9 acres on Park Road Extension, adjacent to and enlarging our Juniper Hill Preserve from 177.5 acres to 191.4 acres. We have sought to make this acquisition for many years, and we were most gratified to be able finally to accomplish our goal. This new property includes gently sloping hardwood forest, important wetlands, and a variety of native flora and fauna. Existing wildlife corridors are preserved and extended, and opportunities for new walking trails are also present.

We held two separate Trail Work Days in 2021, one in April and the other in November. One of our most popular events, these work days draw substantial numbers of volunteers who enjoy working on the basic maintenance and improvement of our trails. The harder the work the more fun and rewarding it seems.
The trail around Lake Elise saw the addition of a handsome kiosk/rest station, courtesy of Luc Zipkin's Eagle Scout project. We have in fact been the beneficiary of numerous Eagle Scout projects over the years and are always eager to welcome new projects by rising Eagle Scouts in the future.
The trail around Lake Elise saw the addition of a handsome kiosk/rest station, courtesy of Luc Zipkin's Eagle Scout project. We have in fact been the beneficiary of numerous Eagle Scout projects over the years and are always eager to welcome new projects by rising Eagle Scouts in the future.
Beginning in 2021, one of MLT's most ambitious projects ever is our development of a nature-oriented dog park at our Nichols Road Preserve . Responding to repeated expressions of interest from the community, we hope to open this facility by the third quarter of this year. The MLT Dog Park will offer approximately three acres of both wooded and open areas, divided into separate areas for smaller and larger dogs. Dog parks offer an enclosed space for dogs to get healthy exercise and for dogs and their humans to socialize. They are beneficial to the health of dogs and owners and contribute toward building a stronger community. As a strictly Land Trust project, unconnected to the Town, volunteers for our Dog Park Committee and funding are still needed, so please consider supporting this effort with your time as well as with your treasure.

MLT's programs and events continue to increase. In 2021, as part of CT Trails Days we offered a Botany Walk, led by Board member and former biology teacher, Alice Hallaran, as well as a repeat of our popular hike over the full three miles of The Foote Path, our signature trail from the Juniper Hill Preserve to Abbotts Pond. Unfortunately, this hike is now a memorial event, commemorating the life and work of former Board member, Wayne Foote, who created this trail over many years and who passed away last year. Wayne was passionate about trails and hiking, and when he wasn't off hiking some of the world's most famous trails he could be found here in Middlebury, continually blazing and improving MLT trails for the enjoyment of his community.
Of course, all of our numerous trails remain open to the public throughout the year. In 2021 we completed the first five detailed trails maps of some of these trails, posting them on our website for ready reference. Mapping of another group of trails is in progress for this current year. We have also been enhancing the marking of our trails and are currently working on improving signage especially at trailheads.
Over a beautiful fall weekend in September, MLT held its first Bronson Harvest at our Bronson Meadow preserve near the Middlebury Green. Long used for growing corn, these fields were planted in 2021 with a variety of decorative fall crops for a pick-your-own event and fundraiser. We are planning a repeat of this event this year. Bronson Harvest adds another dimension to MLT's honoring of Middlebury's agrarian past, already celebrated with the Town each autumn on Brookdale (Fenn's) Farm Tour Day.
In 2003, now almost twenty years ago, MLT unexpectedly received notice that it was the primary beneficiary of the estate of Irene Walker, a woman who lived in Middlebury only briefly but who wanted to contribute to the preservation of its open space and the beauty of nature forever. The size of her estate was substantial and has allowed MLT to purchase and enhance several important properties over time. Good stewardship and continued growth of her bequest, moreover, has allowed its replenishment so as to remain available in the future. In honor of Ms. walker's generosityand vision, MLT named our 25.45 acre preserve on Chase and Tucker Hill Roads in her honor, as the Irene Walker Preserve. A memorial dedication ceremony was held on October 13, 2021.
Further enhancing the enjoyment of our preserves going forward, will be the work of our new Birding Committee, formed in 2021. Its first sponsored event was an Owl Prowl this past February, led by expert Ken Elkins from Bent of the River Audubon. A repeat of this fully subscribed event is planned for this fall, the timing being cognizant of owl breeding and fledgling seasons.

As an all-volunteer organization, the Board of MLT works continuously not only to bring about the projects and events described but also to accomplish the work behind the scenes necessary for our land trust to function and thrive. Fundraising, mainly through our annual mailing and follow-up, budgeting and financial management, logistics, and all manner of related functions are going on all the time at the level of our various committees and on the part of individual volunteers. We are always eager to expand our volunteer team and invite anyone interested to please let us know and join us.
Each and every one of our properties is monitored every year, a requirement of land trust accreditation that assures early detection and correction of all manner of problems, both natural and human-induced. On rare occasions, serious encroachments have been found, causing damage to our natural preserves and requiring legal interventions to remedy. To assist in our monitoring, MLT became one of the first participants in the country to utilize satellite imagery to track our preserves. This 21st century technological solution is fun and fascinating in its own right, and significantly extends the oversight capacity of our volunteers.
A particular focus during 2021 was a multi-part Board Retreat (held on Zoom) to refine our mission for these changing times and set priorities for our work in the future. It became clear through these discussions, for example, that our mission was expanding from one primarily focused on acquiring open space before it was lost to one that also prioritized ways these preserves could be enjoyed by our community's individuals and families. To visually communicate this expanded mission, we are in the process of developing a new logo and signage. As a fully accredited land trust MLT complies with numerous standards and practices of the national Land Trust Alliance, work that is demanding and timeconsuming but that proudly places us among a select group of elite land trusts in the country. Our sixty properties, comprising almost two thousand acres, are thus in good hands.

Complete financial statements for 2021, as reviewed by our accounting firm, Marcum, Inc., are available for inspection upon request, as is our2021 IRS Form 900 (for Nonprofits). The following is a summary:

 Operating Financials 2021  Balance Sheet (12/1/2021)
 Income  Expences  Cash & Investments  2,433,818
 Contributions  49,987  Program Services  70,079  Properties (net)  3,917,582
 From Investments  48,572  Managment & General Admin  26,480  Liabilities none
 Total Income  98,559  Fundraising  1,190  Total Assets Less Liabilities  6,351,400
     Total Expences  98,559    


Please join us outside on one of our beautiful trails or preserves, support us as fully as you are able (we receive no Town or outside funding), like us on social media, and tell our story to your families, friends, and neighbors. We truly need and welcome everyone. We are most grateful to all who have supported our work for what is indeed YOUR land trust.

Thank you.

W. Scott Peterson, M.D. President
Middlebury Land Trust, Inc.



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