“Laws change; people die; the land remains.” These words were said by President Abraham Lincoln. They are as impactful today as they were when first spoken. Perhaps it is their starkness, just seven words, but they remind us that before us and after us Greenwich has always been here and will continue to be here.
We may not think of “the land” every day in such a way, but there is an organization in town that does; The Greenwich Land Trust (GLT). They work every day to preserve open space in our community. The GLT is a private, non-profit organization that owns land and conservation easements throughout our community.
Their properties are diverse and wide-ranging. They are located in every part of Greenwich, from the tidal marshes of Long Island Sound to the lush woodlands of the backcountry. As of last count, they were stewards of 848 acres and growing. Very impressive. Especially when you consider that the GLT acquires these properties through donations or purchases by community partnerships and neighborhood groups.
The keen observer can spot these properties throughout town, marked by their white signs with the GLT logo. Perhaps their most significant property is the 94-acre Treetops Preserve located on the Greenwich/Stamford border.
Treetops is the former home of Broadway star Libby Holman– as well-known for her scandalous lifestyle in the 1930s and 1940s as she was for her sultry voice. After her death in 1971 and a series of events, the home and property were considered for multi-home development which would have forever changed that part of our community.
Through a complex financial deal, the Stamford Land Conservation Trust and the GLT had the opportunity to acquire the property, keeping it from development, but only if they could raise $5million in 100 days. Led locally by David Ogilvy and with great effort, their fundraising was successful. Treetops survives with its rich legacy intact for future generations because of David’s effort.
One of the events created to raise awareness of the GLT and Treetops effort continues to this day – it is not one to miss. Now in its 23rd year, Go Wild! is being held on Sunday, October 16th at the Polo grounds (a GLT land easement) on North Street. This is an event the whole family will enjoy.
Go Wild! is the only event in town (that we know of) where you can get a hot air balloon ride to see Greenwich from the air. There is also live music, a rock-climbing wall, a petting zoo (very cute!), food and drinks, and many other activities. It is the perfect way to spend a fall afternoon. The night before, Saturday October 15th, there is also a drive-in movie which is great for a carload of kids.
If you are going and can contribute in this way, we encourage you to consider purchasing the Patron tickets (information can be found on the GLT website). The Patron tickets are more expensive, yes, but they allow early admission, priority parking and access to the Patron tent of food and beverages. It is for a very worthwhile cause.
The Greenwich Land Trust does more than preserve the land around us and protect green spaces. They educate our community on what the land has to offer. They work to create a balance between what open space should be and how we can use it for passive recreation. Their greenhouse teems with plantings, encouraging the return of native plants to our environment. They are literally the stewards of our lands.
We hope to see you at Go Wild!