Commentary: 2022 was a banner year for Tiverton Land Trust

By David Elliott
Posted 2/8/23

I am pleased to report that 2022 was a productive year for your Tiverton Land Trust. In this same letter last year, I suggested we intended to keep our momentum going as we entered the new year 2022, …

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Commentary: 2022 was a banner year for Tiverton Land Trust

Posted

I am pleased to report that 2022 was a productive year for your Tiverton Land Trust. In this same letter last year, I suggested we intended to keep our momentum going as we entered the new year 2022, and speaking for the Board, I can report that we delivered on that pledge!

In mid-summer 2022, we closed on the Arrowhead Farm conservation easement, a critical piece of our Nonquit Pond Farmlands project. The easement on Arrowhead Farm ensures this 20+ acre farm that sits on Nonquit Pond, will remain in agricultural use in perpetuity, and help to maintain the Nonquit Pond watershed. This project took over 12 months to close and is a reminder that the process of protecting land can be long, and requires significant patience.

Late in 2022, we joined with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to help conserve a 45 acre parcel of pristine Oak-Holly Forest. Called the Cook Farm project, https://www.tivertonlandtrust.org/cook-farm-project TLT is raising funds and will be co-holder with TNC on the conservation easement once the project closes, which is expected in January 2023.

Conserving land is most often a team sport. As we experience rapidly increasing property values across most of the Farm Coast region it often takes multiple institutions to get conservation projects completed. TLT took the lead in the Nonquit Pond Farmlands project, and had significant financial support from Tiverton Open Space Commission (TOSC), RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), and the Natural Resource Conservation Commission (NRCS). In the Cook Farm project, TLT is playing a supporting role to TNC. We continue to work hard to build strong relationships with these and other entities to ensure TLT succeeds in its mission of land conservation across our community.

Over the last two years the Board has committed to make the Land Trust a more durable and robust organization. I am pleased to report that in September TLT hired its first full time employee, Tim Piacentini, as Program Director. Tim recently completed his Masters of Environmental Science and Management at URI, with a focus on Watershed and Ecosystem Science. Tim’s technical knowledge and passion for land conservation make him an outstanding addition to the Land Trust. Tim started in September and is hard at work on a number of initiatives including upgrading our membership & development program, bolstering our land management efforts, and planning and executing community events.

Conserving land is our mission. Concurrently we want to engage the community to enjoy, gather on, and learn about conserved properties. The biggest of these community building events is the Harvest Market at Pardon Gray which we co-hosted with the Tiverton Farmers Market on October 16, 2022. Having hosted the first Harvest Market in 2021, we expanded our resources to accommodate another large gathering. In 2022 we had: over 100 market vendors, more music, and more food trucks. We had guided hikes, tractor rides, and “Tent Talks”. And we had more people! We estimate we had well over 4,000 visitors to this year’s event. Tiverton police were on hand to direct traffic too! While traffic on Main Road might have been a challenge, attendees seemed happy to be on Pardon Gray enjoying time with friends and neighbors on another glorious fall afternoon.

Entering a New Year, we all reflect on our opportunities and goals for the next year. And we are no different. The Board will spend time in January setting our priorities for 2023 and among them will be:

1. Better education - Included in the TLT charter are the following goals.

2.

To educate our younger generations to appreciate the rural nature, environment, and ecology of Tiverton.

To inform the community of the benefits of protecting open space, agriculture lands, and wildlife habitat.

We have fallen short of these goals over the last several years, and it is a priority to improve. I am optimistic that with Tim Piacentini, our new Program Director on board, we will do a better job of meeting these objectives in 2023 and beyond.

Continue to plan and execute a long term land conservation plan across the broad Tiverton community.

We are making great progress on this front and we will continue to plan more diligently, think more creatively, and partner with a broader group of like-minded institutions to keep our momentum going.

3. Begin to prepare for our first Land Trust re-accreditation, which is scheduled to occur in 2024.

Land Trust accreditation is the stamp of good housekeeping for a land trust. Each accredited land trust completes a rigorous review process and joins a network of organizations united by strong ethical practices. TLT achieved its accreditation in 2019. It helps affirm to you, our TLT members and the Tiverton community, that we are functioning under the highest standards upheld by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

In closing, I want to thank all of you who supported the Tiverton Land Trust this year. I think of support broadly: you walked our trails, you volunteered your time, you became members or renewed your membership, and you provided the necessary financial support for us to continue the mission of conserving and protecting Tiverton’s precious land resources. If you have any ideas or feedback, please let us know at info@tivertonlandtrust.org.

Elliott is the director of the Tiverton Land Trust.

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