Mike Johnson

Recent Articles

‘A Lot of Projects Going On’: New Canaan Land Trust Hires New Executive Director

A New Canaan nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving natural open space in the town has hired a Connecticut native and Yale School of Forestry graduate as its new executive director. Aaron Lefland took over the New Canaan Land Trust role on Friday, officials said. As executive director, Lefland will be in charge of the Land Trust’s 70 parcels of land, covering 389 acres. The organization also is seeking accreditation now with the National Land Trust Organization. “I just love being outdoors,” Lefland told NewCanaanite.com. Continue Reading →

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Did You Hear … ?

A chipmunk has been darting into New Canaan Olive Oil this week when the door near Elm Street’s 50-yard-line is propped open. The staff at the shop has successfully ushered the small animal back out again. ***

New Canaan Police will enforce seatbelt use among local motorists with the department’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign, to run May 22 to June 4 at random checkpoints in town. ***

The New Canaan Land Trust has room for two more paid interns to work for the organization this summer. The Land Trust is looking for rising sophomores and juniors and pays $100 per week (for four days a week) for a 5-week summer resetting stonewalls, removing invasive plants, blazing trails, building wildlife habitat, doing research and learning about the land. Continue Reading →

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Selectmen, Finance Board Approve $267,000 for Land Trust To Acquire ‘Fowler’ Property in Silvermine

A local organization dedicated to the preservation of open space took a big step Tuesday toward acquiring a closely watched 6-acre parcel in Silvermine. The Boards of Selectmen and Finance in their regular meetings both voted unanimously in favor of a $267,000 special appropriation for the New Canaan Land Trust—funds that are expected to help the organization complete the $1,070,000 purchase of the “Fowler” property. Owned by award-winning zoologist Jim Fowler, the parcel abuts a 41-acre property already owned by the Land Trust and, together, they will form the “Silvermine Fowler preserve.”

“This is something we need to do as a town,” Selectman Nick Williams said during a meeting held in Town Hall in the morning, moments before the group voted 3-0 in favor of the appropriation. “These opportunities do not come around that often so we need to capitalize.”

The finance board followed with a unanimous ‘Yes’ vote at its evening meeting. The Town Council is expected to take up the matter for a final vote at its Jan. Continue Reading →

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‘A Lane To a Beautiful Nature Park’: Finance Officials Hear Land Trust Request for Funds To Acquire Fowler Property

Saying it would preserve unique natural habitat and expand an important open space greenway, members of a nonprofit organization dedicated to land conservation in New Canaan on Tuesday night urged town officials to help their group with the timely purchase of a 6.35-acre property. The would-be “Silvermine Fowler” preserve—a private property long owned by award-winning zoologist Jim Fowler and available to the New Canaan Land Trust right now in a $1.3 million deal—is accessible from Silvermine Road just below the intersection with Route 106. An east-west oriented parcel that climbs a wooded hill toward a natural pond, the property is contiguous to a 41-acre sanctuary that the Land Trust already owns (see map below). Among privately raised funds, pledges and grants, the New Canaan Land Trust and Trust for Public Land—a national nonprofit organization headquartered in San Francisco—already have secured all but $365,000 needed to acquire the property. At this time, the organization has first right of refusal, though the offer is to expire in the first quarter of 2017, according to Land Trust officials. Continue Reading →

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