Waterford Land Trust


Jack Lange

In the meeting room behind the children’s section of the Waterford Library a group of people meet once a month to discuss the business of the Waterford Land Trust. The Waterford Land Trust is a collection of properties around Waterford with the intent of preserving the natural watersheds and habitats of Waterford. The board in charge of these properties is comprised of thirteen board members who volunteer their time to continue the mission started in the 1970s by local community members.


Scattered around Waterford are twenty-two locations that comprise the trust. The group is headed by Board President David Lersch and meets the third Monday of every month to plan for the future and vote on proposals from members. Topics discussed in meetings include property walks, training for members, budgets and scheduling upcoming events.


The Land Trust operates on the work of volunteers and donations from the community. Volunteers help clear debris from trails and clean up properties. When the trust was founded, it was mainly supported by a donation of land from Dr. George S. Avery, a local conservationist. It has since amassed almost 350 acres of land. The majority of land that the trust owns is from donations, although they have bought a few properties. When they receive an offer for a donation, the land must be reviewed to assess whether holding it would offer any preservational value or whether the land is protected already.

Originally named the West Farms Land Trust after the former title of the Waterford area, the Board voted to change the name in 2013 to the Waterford Land Trust for clarity of representation. As of May, the Trust has about 60 current members who make donations to help fund the mission of conservation. Sally Taylor, one of the founding members of the West Farms Land Trust, says that the most important thing that the community can do is support the trust. She said that it is hard to build awareness and support of the trust because Waterford is geographically separated.


Most Board members are people in the community who feel a duty to conservation or those who care about the environment. The common interest of the preservation of nature brings people together. Anyone can become a member by filling out the membership form on the Waterford Land Trust website, http://waterfordlandtrust.org, and making a donation.


On June 1 the Waterford Land Trust will be hosting a walk of their Woodlands Tract located at the end of Greentree Drive in Waterford from 9:30 to 11:30. The Woodlands Tract is one of the largest holdings of the trust and is over 54 acres. The land was acquired in 1974 with the help of the Nature Conservancy, to the surprise of the Land Trust. The walk will be led by Jim Luce and Karen Krohn. The walk will be postponed to Sunday in case of rain.