When the Aspetuck Land Trust was founded in 1966, climate change wasn’t even part of our lexicon. And we certainly couldn’t imagine the Earth plummeting into climate crisis in our lifetimes.
Turns out our conserving 150 properties of open space on more than 1,900 acres of land was just the right thing to do in the face of a changing climate.
We’ve now extended our mission to save more land by involving private homeowners in Westport, Weston, Fairfield and Easton. The initiative is all tied to fighting the climate crisis. It’s called the Green Corridor.
The Green Corridor emerged out of Aspetuck Land Trust’s involvement in a regional conservation partnership, “The Hudson to Housatonic Initiative,” organized by Highstead in Redding, a local non-profit conservation group. Our Board of Directors took this larger regional perspective and applied it locally to the four towns we serve.
Maintaining the natural biodiversity of open land is now recognized as key to mitigating some of the worst effects of climate change: the wholesale death of pollinators that keep our food growing and our bird populations stable.
Have you noticed fewer insects splattered on your car windshield at night? Do you hear as many bird songs as you once did? What has happened to all the fireflies?
More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. The bird population has declined by 3 billion since the 1970’s. These diminishing populations is directly linked to developed land having fewer native plants feeding fewer insects and pollinators, which feed fewer birds.
The problem is our perfect suburban yards. We all like grass but our prized golf course yards are biological deserts that don’t provide food or habitat for insects to thrive. Add chemical pesticides and herbicides to the mix and you have a perfect recipe for insect and bird decline and a collapsing ecosystem.
While the Aspetuck Land Trust still conserves open land, we’re bringing some of that same Earth-saving biodiversity to the tens of thousands of smaller pieces of land – suburban yards – where every homeowner can make a difference!
Homeowners should think of themselves as landowners with an important role to play in repairing our world. Local actions create large scale impact and everything matters.
We want to change the way people think about and take care of their yards. Seems simple but it’s a revolutionary concept in the suburbs!
The land trust isn’t calling for you to plow under all your neatly mowed grass. Just do simple things like plant more native plants and shrubs and trees, reduce pesticide use and transition to organic lawn care.
We hired Mary Ellen Lemay, a refugee from Big Pharma with a new master’s in environmental management from Yale, as director of landowner engagement to educate and inspire people about the Green Corridor. On our website AspetuckLandTrust.org she has gathered all the resources you need to start transforming parts of your yards today:
• How to rethink your lawn
• Where to buy natives
• How to plant them
• How to replace your current pesticides and herbicides
• Carefully selected and committed landscapers who will do it all for you
We ask homeowners to take the Green Corridor Pledge and offer an attractive metal plaque to put on their mailboxes to tell their neighbors. Our goal is to have 500 homeowners take the pledge in 2020 and snowball to large-scale participation from there.
“Promoting biodiversity at your home is the best thing individuals can do against the climate crisis,” said Earthplace Executive Director Tony McDowell.
Join us to save the planet one backyard at a time!
For more information, visit AspetuckLandTrust.org.