Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wintonbury Land Trust Meeting Notes - October 8, 2014

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST – October 8, 2014, Seabury Retirement Community, Bloomfield  
Present:  Jim Trail, Kevin Gough, Paula Jones, Vikki Reski, Dale Bertoldi, Doris Johnson, Chip Caton, Christopher Shepherd, Diane Bernier
Checking out the chicken coop at Lisa Lane Farm
1) Minutes for the September 10, 2014 Board Meeting were approved. 
2)      There were two agenda additions (items b and c under New Business). 
3)      Committee Reports
a)      Grants – (1) Evans Property – The Environmental Review is scheduled to be done by the end of October.  Dale and Vikki will follow up on timing of review completion, since information from it would be useful for the Bafflin grant submittal, due at the end of October.  Chip Caton indicated he would be approaching Duncaster as well.  (2)  Hawk Hill – The paperwork submitted by Town attorneys is still under review by NRCS.  We have submitted a request for funds for the closing to Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
b)      Financial
1.      Our August 31, 2014 account balances are as follows:  Checking - $1,916.27; Savings - $23,221.40; Restricted - $113,547.98. 
2.      Vikki reported that our annual insurance renewal invoice had come in.  She will forward that material to the Finance Committee.
c)      Events
1.      Stewardship work days:  A work day is also scheduled for Van Otterloo on October 11th at 10 AM; rain date will be October 12th.
2.      Lisa Lane Ribbon Cutting on September 20th – see the attached NRCS Article.  Thanks to Lois Hager for donating the hay bales (which Lois will reuse in her yard).   
3.      October 4th hike from Stout Family Fields to LaSalette – Including Land Trust “guides” Dale Bertoldi, Kevin Gough, Paula Jones, and Vikki Reski, 19 hikers participated in this event.  Jim Trail reported that this hike generated more interest in the Land Trust among the Seabury Community participants.  Jim agreed that a presentation at Seabury on the Land Trust this winter would be well-received.
d)     Membership/Community/Website
1.      Membership Presentation – WLT member Christopher Shepard presented his analysis of our membership database structure, and led a discussion of what to consider as we think strategically about Membership goals.  He provided the Board with a written report that will be very useful for a (planned, yet-to-be-formed) Membership Committee.  Christopher has an extensive background working for non-profits, including running The Nature Center in Wethersfield.  He started teaching Middle School this year, so is adjusting to this new role, but graciously agreed to help us work on membership going forward.  Thank you, Christopher, for you time and interest!
2.      Newsletter – We briefly discussed content for the October newsletter.  Vikki suggested we include some of the feedback from Seabury participants in the Oct 4th Hike recap article.  Doris Johnson offered to make copies of our previous newsletter for a mailing to those few members whose e-mail addresses we lack. 
3.      Guest Diane Bernier reported that she had noticed the sign at our Thrall Farm project, and followed up by calling to find out more about the Land Trust.  Diane is a Master Gardener, lives in The Walden Woods Complex in Windsor (located near Thrall Farm), and started their Community Garden.  Welcome, Diane!
e)      Capacity Building
1.      Dale reported that he had seen Joel Neuwirth, and that Joel was firming up plans about Bloomfield Pride Week next June.   Kevin Gough offered to help as needed.
f)       Stewardship
1.      Chip Caton offered to set up a meeting with Mark Dodd to walk on The Schaffer Property.  Paula Jones, Kevin Gough, and Jim Trail asked to participate.  Paula committed to doing some work on this property as part of her Coverts Cooperator seminar participation in September. 
2.      Community Garden at Lisa Lane Farm – Vikki Reski is working with Nancy Bowden to plan a teaching/demonstration garden at Lisa Lane.  Ultimately, this could generate community participation in the larger planned Community Garden at Lisa Lane.  The Land Trust will be seeking help from the Town for this project.  Vikki talked about raised beds; Kevin Gough suggested the consideration of straw-bale gardening.  Vikki proposed using some stewardship funds for demonstration garden preparation; she will determine amount needed and e-mail the Board for approval.
4)      New Business –
a)      Next meeting dates:  (2nd) Wednesdays November 12th and December 10th at Seabury Retirement Community.  In general, we are planning on the 2nd Wednesday of the month for Board meetings.  Start time:  6 P.M. 
b)      Doris Johnson expressed her appreciation for a letter to DEEP Commission Rob Klee from Bloomfield Town Manager Phil Schenck on behalf of the town for all of Doris’ work on Lisa Lane.
c)      Dale Bertoldi reported that Windsor Land Trust President Jim Kandik had approached him about the possibility of a collaborative project around Mill Brook on the Windsor-Bloomfield line.  The Acquisition Committee will meet to consider this.  There was consensus that in principle collaborative projects with neighboring Land Trusts are beneficial, particularly in fostering a regional approach to conservation practices.
Recorded by Paula Jones 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wintonbury Land Trust Meeting Notes - September 10, 2014

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST – September 10, 2014, Seabury Retirement Community, Bloomfield  

Present:  Jim Trail, Kevin Gough, Paula Jones, Vikki Reski, Dale Bertoldi, Doris Johnson, Vic Herson, Sten Caspersson
Great Blue Heron
1)      Minutes for the August 20th Board Meeting were approved. 

2)      There was one addition (discussed under Financials), a $630 structural engineering bill for the Thrall Farm Potato Barn.

3)      Committee Reports

a)      Grants – (1) Evans Property – The Environmental Review is scheduled to be done by the end of October.  

b)      Financial

1.      Our August 31, 2014 account balances are as follows:  Checking - $2,559.16; Savings - $23,219.49; Restricted - $113,536.83.  Vikki reported that a number of contributions had been made in memory of Paul Hughes.

2.      Vikki requested Board approval to purchase a laptop and software for (approximately) $330 from Techsoup.  Money had been budgeted to do so.  The Board unanimously approved a motion to do so, noting the appropriateness of Wintonbury Land Trust owning a computer dedicated to Land Trust business.  We also discussed different options for data backup.  Paula will pass along a copy of Simsbury Land Trust’s Record Retention Policy to the Financial Committee.

3.      Vikki reported that we had received a $630 bill for structural engineering work for the Thrall Farm Potato Barn that was not budgeted for.  We briefly discussed how we could avoid this in the future by including in our annual budget any potential expenditures included as part of grant applications.

c)      Events

1.      Stewardship work days:  A work day is scheduled for Stout Family Fields on September 13th (rain date September 14th).  A work day is also scheduled for Van Otterloo on October 11th at 10 AM, with a follow-up beer tasting at Back East Brewery at 2:30.  Rain date will be October 12th (with no tasting since the Back East is closed on Sunday).

2.      Lisa Lane Ribbon Cutting on September 20th – There will be local, state, and federal government representation at the ceremony. 

3.      October 4th hike from Stout Family Fields to LaSalette – Jim Trail is planning this hike for the Seabury Community, with Land Trust members invited to participate.  Details will be provided in the September newsletter. 

d)     Membership/Community/Website

1.      Trail Guide for website – After some discussion, we decided to collect some examples of trail guides in order to determine upfront what format we would like to use.  Kevin offered to scan some pages from Simsbury Land Trust’s Walk Book; Doris also offered to provide some examples.

2.      Board Members Bios – Paula will send Diana Hughes the Board bios used at the Annual Meeting in June, with Jim, our new Board member, copied in.  We agreed that Board Bios should be used as filler material in newsletters.  We also agreed that it would be good to have a group photograph of the Board.

3.      Paula set up a Land Trust account for The Hartford Courant’s My Towns section.  We can use this to submit articles for upcoming events.  She will send the account information out to Board members involved with Community Outreach.

e)      Capacity Building

1.      Volunteers –

(1)   Nancy Bowden would like to do a Community Garden project.  We are planning a demo garden at Lisa Lane Farm; a plot there has been identified.  Bloomfield’s Leisure Services has offered assistance. 

(2)   Christopher Shepard will attend an upcoming Board meeting to provide his analysis of our membership data, and to make some recommendations regarding building membership.

(3)   Catriona Horstmann has volunteered to serve on a Committee.

2.      Kevin reported that he had met with Joel Neuwirth about WLT’s participation in Pride Week Bloomfield next June.  Kevin conveyed that the Land Trust wants to participate, and suggested ideas generated during our August Board meeting.  Joel was receptive to those suggestions, and indicated he would be setting up a meeting at the end of September or early October.  Kevin offered to represent the Land Trust at that initial meeting.

f)       Stewardship

1.      The Stewardship Committee has completed a Baseline for Hawk Hill.

4)      New Business –

a)      Next meeting dates:  (2nd) Wednesdays October 8th and November 12th at Seabury Retirement Community.  In general, we are planning on the 2nd Wednesday of the month for Board meetings.  Start time:  6 P.M. 

b)      No Community Q&A.


Recorded by Paula Jones 

Wintonbury Land Trust Meeting Notes - August 20, 2014

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST – August 20, 2014, 52 Duncaster Road, Bloomfield  

Present:  Jim Trail, Kevin Gough, Paula Jones, Vikki Reski, Dale Bertoldi, Doris Johnson, Sten Caspersson

Territorial Toms

          1)      Minutes for the July 16th Board Meeting were approved. 

          2)      There were no additions to the agenda.

    3)      Committee Reports

           a)      Grants – (1) Hawk Hill – As noted on the agenda, the   paperwork submitted by the Town attorneys is at NRCS for review.  We did not submit a 1772 Foundation barn grant application for Hawk Hill.  (2) Evans Property – The Environmental Review Team is scheduled to be done in late August/early September.
b)      Events
1.      Lisa Lane Ribbon Cutting on September 20th – There will be local, state, and federal government representation at the ceremony. 
2.      Wildwoods Trail Hike at Seabury – Jim Trail will be leading this hike on August 30th at 9 AM.  Brief descriptions will be posted on the Land Trust website and blog.  Paula will submit an article to The Hartford Courant. 
3.      Stewardship work days – Lisa Lane:  A work day has been scheduled for August 21st.  The head of NRCS may be visiting the farm, depending on his schedule.  Stout Family Fields:  September 13th; Van Otterloo:  October 11th, (Rain date of October 12th).  If we have the workday on Saturday the 11th, we’ll follow up with a tasting at Back East Brewery.
4.      Jim is planning a hike ending at LaSalette on October 4th for the Seabury Community.  He reported he had many requests to repeat the route offered on Trails Day in June.  He graciously agreed to open up the hike to WLT members as well.  Once he determines the exact route that will be offered, he’ll provide a short description for the September newsletter.  Paula offered to help him coordinate that with Diana Hughes. 
c)      Membership/Community/Website
1.      We discussed having a membership day at Back East Brewery next Spring or Summer.   
2.      Trail Guide for website – Jim reported that the IT department at Seabury is working on moving Seabury Trail information from Seabury’s internal resident-only site to their public-access site.  Once that work is complete, we can talk to Diana about linking our newsletter to the Seabury Trails link.  Ultimately, we can provide that link on the Land Trust website.
d)      Financial – July account balances:  $2,457.81 in checking; $21,015.59 in savings; $113,525.31 in restricted.  The 2013 tax filing was submitted on August 1, 2014.
e)     Capacity Building
1.      Paula made the following motion:  “In accordance with Article VI, Section 3, of Wintonbury Land Trust Bylaws, I nominate Jim Trail to the Board of Directors for a term expiring at Wintonbury Land Trust’s 2015 Annual Meeting.”  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.  Welcome Jim!
2.      Paula offered to take the lead in setting up a Nominating Committee this fall in preparation for the 2015 Annual Meeting.
3.      Since Chip Caton was unable to attend, we tabled the Logo Design update.
4.      Dale reported that Joel Neuwirth had contacted him about the Land Trust participating in the 2015 Bloomfield Pride Week (June 8 – 13).  We brainstormed ideas for the event, including extending it to the full month of June (to offer more weekend activities), or at least to the preceding weekend, which would encompass Trails Day.  Either Kevin or Paula will follow up directly with Joel.
f)      Stewardship
1.      Stewardship Days - Our fall stewardship days are scheduled for the second Saturday of the month.  Vikki suggested we try the 3rd Saturday of the month during the spring.  She also suggested we follow our workdays up with a social activity.  All agreed this is a good idea.  As mentioned above, if the Van Otterloo workday is not rained out and is held on Saturday, October 11th, we’ll try a tasting at Back East Brewery.
2.      The Stewardship Committee plans on working with the property stewards to establish Baselines for Hawk Hill and Thrall Farm. 
2)      New Business –
a)      Next meeting dates:  (2nd) Wednesdays September 10th and October 8th.  In general, we are planning on the 2nd Wednesday of the month for Board meetings.  Start time:  6 P.M. 
b)      Jim Trail offered the use of a large lounge at Seabury to us for a meeting space if we think it would be suitable.  Jim suggested someone from the Board take a look at the space to make sure we agree; Paula offered to do so.  We’ll plan on meeting at Seabury Retirement Community for at least the next couple of meetings (to try it out); room details and directions will be provided prior to the September meeting. 
Recorded by Paula Jones


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wintonbury Land Trust Meeting Notes - July 16th, 2014

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST – July 16, 2014, 52 Duncaster Road, Bloomfield  

Present:  Chip Caton, Vikki Reski, Kevin Gough, Vic Herson, Sten Caspersson, Dale Bertoldi, Doris Johnson, Pat Sullivan, Paula Jones, Jim Trail

1)      Minutes for the June 9th Board Meeting and June 18th Annual Meeting were approved.  We agreed that we will post the newly ratified Bylaws on our website.

2)      There were two announcements:  i) The 2014 2014Trust Alliance Rally will be held in Providence, RI, September 17th to 20th.  If someone wants to attend, Amy Paterson, Director of Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) has offered CLCC members a $100 subsidy to help defray the cost. ii)  Kevin and Paula will be participating in the COVERTS program from September 11th to 14th.  They will focus on the Schaffer property for their projects.

 3)      Committee Reports

a)      Capacity Building – Chip Caton presented 4 new logo designs prepared by Robin Sherwood.  We quickly reached consensus to focus on the second option, with a few specific suggestions for Robin to consider.  All agreed that Robin had done a great job!

b)      Grants – Vikki is working on a 1772 Foundation Barn Grant since the Hawk Hill barn will need some stabilization work before winter.   She expects the closing on Hawk Hill to be sometime this fall.

c)      Acquisitions

1.      Evans Property:  Dale reported that we did not receive a grant award from Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut on the Evans property.  He did get some feedback on our application, and reported that although there was interest in the Evans project, there was a lot of competition.   Vikki is pursuing an environmental review of that property through the Connecticut Environmental Review Team (ERT).  This report, besides its value to the Land Trust for management purposes, will be helpful by providing an objective view of the property’s resource values during fund raising.

2.      Roditi project:  The landowners have established they have a right-of-way into the parcels.  That determination is needed for an accurate appraisal of the parcels.

d)     Membership/Community/Website

1.      We had approached Back East Brewery last fall about ways they could support the Land Trust.  We reviewed what the Brewery owners had indicated they could do to help.  Flat Bread in Avon might also be willing to provide some support as they’ve done with other area non-profits.

2.      Membership – Paula will follow up with Christopher Shepard regarding his volunteer work on the membership data base, and ask if he could report his recommendations at an upcoming Board meeting, perhaps August.

3.      Trail Guide for website – Developing a Bloomfield Trail Guide was one of WLT’s 2014 goals.  Dale suggested that we launch this effort by asking volunteers to write trail descriptions using a standard format.  Connecticut Forest and Parks’ Walk Book and Simsbury Land Trust’s Walk Book were suggested as possible models for formatting purposes.  In addition to Land Trust property trails, we would provide links to other trails in town, including Seabury’s wonderful trail system.  We decided our publishing/publicizing process would be to feature a trail in our newsletter, followed by posting the description on our website.   Since we will be co-sponsoring a hike with Seabury Labor Day weekend, Paula and Jim agreed to launch the process with Seabury’s Wildwoods Trail by providing a description/link for the August newsletter.  Jim Trail suggested we consider using Picassa.  Since Picassa will overlay GPS-tagged photos on Google maps, we could take photos along the trails and create a Picassa album for each property.  Jim will send us a link of one Picassa Album he created for Seabury’s Trails Day in late June. 

e)      Financial – June account balances:  $2,457.81 in checking; $21,015.81 in savings; $113,511.25 in restricted.  Pat introduced a 5-year financial model that he has been working on.

f)       Events –

1.      Doris provided a short report of the many festivities planned for the Lisa Lane Farm Day on September 20th.

2.      Pat reported that planning has begun for the progressive dinner.   It will be scheduled in late fall, prior to the (human) winter migration to warmer climes.

3.      WLT and the Seabury Trails Committee will co-sponsor a hike on Seabury’s Wildwoods Trail on Saturday, August 30th, 9 A.M.  Rain date is Sunday, August 31st.

g)      Stewardship –

1.      Vikki will e-mail some proposed dates for fall stewardship work at Stout Family Fields and at Van Otterloo. 

2.      Doris and Vikki described the good work done by the Nexus youth group at Lisa Lane Farm:  “On June 28, 2014, in an effort to create a publicly accessible farm, the joint efforts of the Youth Program of Leadership Greater Hartford, The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Office of Environmental Justice, The Town of Bloomfield, the Farmer and Wintonbury Land Trust worked with great success to pick up three designated areas on the Lisa Lane Farm.”  There was a nice article about this project in The Hartford Courant.  The youth group also solicited donations of tools for the Farm and Land Trust as part of their project.

3.      Paula suggested we set up some 2015 stewardship work days at our August Board meeting.  Diana Hughes (at the Annual Meeting) had suggested establishing some work dates so that people could hold the dates and plan to participate.

4)      New Business –

a)      Next meeting dates:  (3rd) Wednesday, August 20th; (2nd) Wednesdays September 10th and October 8th.  In general, we are planning on the 2nd Wednesday of the month for Board meetings.  Start time:  6 P.M.

Recorded by Paula Jones 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wintonbury Land Trust Annual Meeting Notes - June 18, 2014

Wintonbury Land Trust Annual Meeting

June 18, 2014 – 7 P.M.

Bloomfield Leisure Services, Meeting Room 2

330 Park Avenue, Bloomfield


  1. Committee Reports
    1. Financial Committee - Vikki Reski gave a brief presentation of the evolution of the Financial Committee since 2011.  The Committee is currently working on standardized forms in order to publish financial reports.  Kevin Gough, Patrick Sullivan, and Sten Caspersson are also serving on the Committee. 
    2. Acquisitions Update – Dale Bertoldi reported that WLT has signed a purchase agreement with the owners of Hawk Hill.  The agreement includes a $27,500 donation by the owners. 
    3. Events –
                                                              i.      Dale Bertoldi summarized WLT’s June events, the Trails Day hike on the 7th, and the Bike and Hike on the 14th.  Three individuals joined the Land Trust as a result of participating in the Bike and Hike. 

                                                            ii.      Paula Jones reported that WLT is planning a fall hike with Seabury Retirement Community on Seabury’s beautiful Wildwoods Trail. 

                                                          iii.      Doris Johnson reported that the Lisa Lane Celebration will be September 20th.  We are also planning a “progressive” style fall Wine and Dine.  Patrick Sullivan will be organizing the planning committee, and would model our event based on his experience with West Hartford’s successful event.

    1. Stewardship –
                                                              i.      Van Otterloo needs trail maintenance and stone wall repair work.  We will begin work on the wall in the late summer/early fall once vegetation starts dying back. 

                                                            ii.      The Stout Family Fields are in good shape, thanks to the stewardship of John Stout in the fields, and Sten Caspersson’s work maintaining the “trailhead” area around the Stone Hill cul-de-sac.

                                                          iii.      Thrall Farm – The work associated with Newgate Farms’ Farmland Restoration Grant is wrapping up.  We are starting the potato barn work associated with WLT’s recent award of a Farm Viability Grant. 

                                                          iv.      Diana Hughes suggested establishing a regular stewardship day (e.g. monthly/quarterly) to focus on a property.  We could ask property stewards to organize the work day.  All agreed this is a good suggestion, and the Board will pursue it.

  1. Bylaws
    1. Review and Discussion of Proposed Changes - Paula Jones provided a brief overview of the key proposed changes to the Bylaws, and the rationale for those changes.  In the ensuing discussion, Sten Caspersson questioned the intent of Article 5, Section 9.  There was consensus that section would be more appropriately worded as follows: “The Board of Directors may appoint additional officers who shall have such power and authority as the Board shall define.”  Sten also pointed out a missing comma (3rd line, after the word “President,”) in Article IX.
    2. Member vote on motion to approve changes - A motion to approve the proposed amended Bylaws with the two additional changes mentioned above passed unanimously.  The ratified Bylaws are posted on our website (at the bottom of the Maps & Docs tab):

  1. Election of Directors
    1. David O. Sullivan is stepping down from the Board after serving for 40+ years.  David described some of the challenges and successes of the early years, and his efforts to keep the Land Trust going.  In recognition of David’s long service, Dale Bertoldi made a motion that he be appointed an Honorary Director of WLT.  Although that position would not be a voting position on the Board, the Board would look to David for advice and assistance from time to time, drawing on his long experience and institutional knowledge.  The motion passed unanimously.
    2. A motion was made to elect the slate of nominees as presented.  The motion passed unanimously. 

  1. New Business
    1. Sten Caspersson suggested putting the Directors’ biographies out on the website, and all agreed we should do so.  Diana Hughes also suggested we use the bios for a “Meet your Board” series in the monthly e-newsletters.  She also suggested a “Meet your Stewards” series.  We agreed that we would start with the Board members, and feature David O. Sullivan first. 
    2. Dale Bertoldi provided a brief update on the Van Otterloo AT&T cell tower proposal.   He reported that our consultants believe that the rental income would be considered exempt from UBI and that he had met with WLT’s attorney for a first review of the proposed lease.  Dale is proceeding slowly since AT&T also needs to negotiate a second lease with the MDC.

  1. Adjournment of Member Annual Meeting – Member meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

  1. Annual Meeting of Board of Directors
    1. Election of Officers – The newly elected Board elected the following officers:  Dale Bertoldi, President; Chip Caton, Vice President; Vikki Reski, Acting Treasurer; Paula Jones, Secretary.
    2. Board New Business

                                                              i.      The Directors signed WLT’s Ethics/Conflict of Interest policy.

                                                            ii.      We agreed to set a regular Board meeting date going forward.  Paula Jones will set that up.

    1. Board meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.