Thoughts about the Land Trust Rally
I had the privilege of attending 2011 Land Trust Rally in Milwaukee, WI from October 12 – 16 with Megan from the Western New York Land Conservancy. It was a half-week of learning that there are some really positive things happening in the environmental scene. I was also introduced to the city of Milwaukee, a city worth visiting (especially in March when Gaelic Storm will be there in concert).
A land trust is an entity that holds the conservation easements on a piece of property whether it’s preserved for farming or historic or environmental purposes. Many of the people I spoke with at the rally are focusing on watersheds and keeping our lakes and streams clean and viable. Others protect natural habitats, endangered species, urban parks and community gardens. There is really alot happening around the country to protect important and fragile spaces. I was impressed with the diversity of this country’s landscapes and habitats. I was impressed with the various ways people are trying to address the problems of climate change, habitat loss, urban sprawl, loss of farmland, endangered species, cultural identity, and land accessibility. I would encourage you to investigate what is going with land conservation and consider what you can do to support their efforts. They are doing an important job! Check out the Western New York Land Conservancy http://www.wnylc.org/main.html, The Genesee Valley Conservancy http://www.geneseevalleyconservancy.org/ and the Farm Land Trust ,http://www.farmland.org/default.asp.
On Thursday, I participated in a tour of some of Milwaukee’s urban agriculture projects including Will Allen’s Growing Power, http://www.growingpower.org/, and The Center for Resilient Cities’ project Alice’s Garden, http://www.resilientcities.org/Resilient_Cities/ALICEs_GARDEN.html. These are a couple of examples where meaning and purpose are being brought to populations and soils that have been overlooked and neglected. We visited Fondy Farmers’ Market http://www.fondymarket.org/about, which actively connects farmers with land and gives them a market for their produce in addition to educating the public about food and selling fresh local produce. I learned that there is a land trust within Milwaukee that holds deeds and/or easements on land set aside for community gardens, http://www.milwaukeeurbangardens.org/index.html.
I spent time at the Milwaukee Public Market, a vibrant and bustling indoor/outdoor market, open 7 days a week (outdoor market is only open on Saturday). I found the public library, whose administration has obviously NOT cut it from its budget. I bought a few used books there, and took them back to the Public Market to read on Sunday. The Milwaukee River flows a block or so from the hotel I stayed in, and the trip to the Public Market took me right along its banks. The River Keepers in Milwaukee have been working to clean the river and make it an asset to pedestrians by creating the “River Walk”, a beautiful boardwalk running up and down the river allowing pedestrians to access the city without dealing with traffic.
I tried to take some pictures, but I am no photographer. These are a few of my feeble attempts. Megan took some nice photos and posted them on the Western New York Land Conservancy Facebook site (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Western-New-York-Land-Conservancy/417570890323) I show up in a couple of her pictures.
Until next time,