The Kent Land Trust is a local community land trust based in the foothills of northwest Connecticut, along the Appalachian Trail and the Housatonic River, and within a landscape of wildlife corridors, green valleys and watersheds supporting diverse species.
Established in 1989, our mission is to preserve natural resources in Kent and surroundings through land protection, stewardship, and public outreach, education and research. KLT is volunteer-led with 16 directors, 6 advisors, 23 non-board committee members, and 75+ volunteers. In addition, KLT employs a part-time Executive Director, full-time Land Manager, and part-time Office Manager, who work with stewardship consultants.
Five volunteers serve on the board of the affiliated Kent Land Trust Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation is to manage assets with a long-term view toward perpetual existence, and provide annual distributions to augment the KLT's operating budget. KLT's preservation efforts are focused on priorities identified within Town and regional conservation plans, including the Town's Plan of Conservation and Development which identifies 23 "Kent Town Character Areas".
KLT's stewardship program includes regular monitoring and management, with particular emphasis on large projects clearing invasive species and restoring grassland, early successional and forest-interior wildlife habitats. Several of KLT's preserves have vernal pools. Each spring we monitor these pools for use by dependent species. Similarly, at spring and fall migration times, we document bird species within KLT preserves. On one preserve where KLT recently restored early successional habitat, cerulean warblers were captured in mist nets for the first time in 11 years.
KLT conducts a full program of public education, informational, and recreational activities. We sponsor public hikes 4-5 times per year; all but one of KLT's fee-held properties are open to the public, and nine have trail systems. We have strong relationships with local public and private schools who partner with us in educational programs and wildlife research. We cosponsor public programs with local conservation organizations including the town Conservation Commission and the Housatonic Valley Association. We manage the town Community Garden on KLT land with participants including individuals, nonprofit groups, the Episcopal Church, town food bank, and local nursery school. Each year on Memorial Day we host a free, town-wide Community Conservation Picnic with activities for families.
KLT convenes regional meetings of land trusts to improve networking and information sharing among conservation practitioners in Northwest Connecticut. Finally, KLT provides technical assistance to area land trusts, sharing our knowledge of the land trust accreditation process and policy models with others interested in achieving this goal or improving their practices.