Resilient and Connected Network

TNC awards $100K to Connecticut land trusts via new grant program.

Mountains serve as a backdrop to a dense forest.
Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains stretch across the northeastern United States. © Darrell Bodnar

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To further land conservation efforts in the Appalachians and support local partners, The Nature Conservancy is awarding $100,000 in grant funding—$50,000 each—to the Norfolk Land Trust (NLT) and the Warren Land Trust (WLT) in Connecticut

The funding, awarded through TNC’s new Resilient and Connected Appalachians Grant Program, will also benefit land protection efforts in New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. In all, the program is distributing over $1.2 million to 27 projects, and will leverage an additional $28 million in project funding, to protect more than 10,000 acres within the Appalachians and an area that TNC has termed the Resilient and Connected Network—a center of climate resilience and critical migration corridor for wildlife.

Specifically, the $50,000 grant to the Norfolk Land Trust will support the acquisition of a 10-acre inholding at the trust’s Spring Hill Preserve.

“Many thanks to The Nature Conservancy for the new grant program and for focusing on this ecologically important area. TNC is providing helpful data and meaningful funding where it is most needed,” says Shelley Harms, secretary of the NLT. 

The acquisition will add to and fill gaps for a preserved block of more than 1,000 acres in north-central Norfolk. It is a climate-resilient area of core forest and headwater watersheds. Fifteen state-listed species live on or near these properties, including the endangered tri-colored bat, American bittern and long-eared owl.

The Warren Land Trust is receiving a $50,000 grant to acquire the 152-acre Mountain Lake Preserve located in Warren.

“The Warren Land Trust is thrilled to receive this award,” says Elizabeth Chandler, vice president, land acquisition and stewardship, for WLT. “The preservation of Mountain Lake realizes important goals for climate resiliency and connectivity by protecting its diverse habitats and natural resources, and adds to a larger area of protected lands.”

Combined with additional lands (Connecticut's Wyantenock State Forest, WLT's Cunningham Nature Preserve, Kent Land Trust's East Kent Hamlet Nature Preserve and other adjacent conservation easements held by the Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy), there will be a contiguous protected block of approximately 1,200 acres. The property is home to high-quality water resources including Straits Pond and Glacier Brook, which are vital to both protect and benefit the ecosystem, the public water supply and nearby Lake Waramaug, a Connecticut Heritage Lake.

“We’re happy the Resilient and Connected Appalachians Grant Program can support local partners,” says Sarah Pellegrino, TNC's land protection and strategies manager in Connecticut chapter. “It’s fantastic to see the first grant cycle reach this milestone.”

TNC’s Resilient and Connected Appalachians Grant Program, which launched last fall, provides increased funding opportunities for non-profit organizations, municipalities and other partners to engage in conservation efforts in the Appalachians. The program offers grants of up to $50,000 to support projects that permanently protect climate-resilient lands, address community needs and provide critical connected habitat.

The community benefits that result from projects funded by the grant program will enable people and communities to cope with the effects of climate change and provide spaces for enhanced community well-being. This is particularly critical in marginalized communities, including but not limited to, communities with little to no access to high-quality green spaces, communities experiencing heightened impacts of climate change due to systemic under-investment and poor infrastructure, as well as traditionally marginalized communities of color, to name a few.

TNC encourages organizations in Connecticut to learn more about this new opportunity and grant cycle

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.