The Sharon Land Trust creates lasting partnerships that allow ideas and resources to be shared. Our partners include key local and state agencies, local and regional nonprofit organizations, and other groups with expertise in conservation.
The Land Trust Alliance:
Sharon Land Trust is accredited by the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), the national leader in policy, standards, education and training. Accreditation is a mark of distinction, and demonstrates that a land trust has successfully implemented Land Trust Standards and Practices. The accreditation seal offers the assurance that a land trust can keep the promise of perpetuity and that it is worthy of the public trust.
The Connecticut Land Conservation Council:
The CLCC serves Connecticut’s land trusts by representing their interests to state government, connecting them to resources, and providing direct assistance to help them achieve their conservation goals and ensure their long-term viability. Check out CLCC’s 2023 Conservation Priorities
Follow the Forest:
Sharon Land Trust is a proud partner of the Follow the Forest network, a regional initiative that seeks to protect and connect forests and promote the safe passage of wildlife throughout the Northeast, from the Hudson Valley to the forests of Canada. The goal is to protect at least 50% of each core forest habitat that will anchor this key wildlife corridor, focusing on areas of greater than 250 acres. This amount of forest is a scientifically recognized minimum needed to sustain important woodland species such as bobcat, black bear, fisher, and moose as they adapt to climate changes and find new habitats. Sharon plays a needed role in this initiative because large patches of core forest still exist in our area. Sharon Land Trust and Housatonic Valley Association work with area schools to educate students about the importance of our local forest environment.
Old Growth Forest Network:
Old forests are exceedingly rare in our region after 200 years of farming and logging. Almost all remnants are now considered critical habitats. Sharon Land Trust has enrolled three preserves (Sharon Mountain, Goodbody, Hamlin) in the national organization Old Growth Forest Network, pledging to protect them in perpetuity and allowing them to grow without significant intervention. There is no national organization or government agency working solely to protect the remaining ancient forests or preserving recovering forests like ours, so by enrolling in the network we are sharing stewardship challenges and solutions and becoming part of a bigger network to help stop the destruction of remaining old growth.
Home Grown National Park
Sharon Land Trust supports the Homegrown National Park initiative, a grassroots call to action to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks. Every human being on the planet needs diverse, highly productive ecosystems to survive. Catalyzing a collective effort of individual homeowners, property owners, land managers, farmers and many others, Homegrown National Park encourages everyone to plant native species and remove most invasives. The goal of Homegrown National Park is to transform ½ of all the privately owned green lawns to native plantings—which would be approximately 20 million acres of native plantings in the US! The Sharon Land Trust is committed to planting natives and working to control the spread of invasive plant species on our properties, and we are proud to be a part of Homegrown National Park.
State and Federal Funding:
The Sharon Land Trust has been able to secure state and federal grants for most of our major purchases. The primary source of funding to protect land in the state of Connecticut is the Open Space and Watershed Acquisitions Grant Program (OSWA) administered through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). This competitive grant program awards partial funding to land trusts and towns to protect lands of high conservation and recreational value and that leverage the greatest percentage of private and municipal funding.
The Town of Sharon is also within the federally designated Highlands Conservation Area, a 3.4 million acre area across Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. A grant program, the Highlands Conservation Grant Program, funds protection of land within the Highlands area, allowing land trusts the ability to leverage state funds with federal dollars. Sharon Land Trust is able to fund a majority of our land acquisition projects utilizing these public funding sources.