Westchester Land Trust (WLT) is thrilled to announce the return of its Annual Benefit fundraiser to raise funds for its land protection and stewardship efforts on Saturday, June 4th. The event will welcome 300 guests to the stunning home of local philanthropists Angelina and Monte Lipman in Katonah. Funds raised at the event will be used by WLT to permanently preserve open space throughout the county, including more than 1,000 acres of currently active projects.
Since its founding in 1988, WLT has preserved more than 9,000 acres of open space including 1,132 acres of preserves owned and managed by the organization.
During the pandemic, more people than ever turned to WLT’s 13 nature preserves, that are open to the public year-round, for beauty, solace, and hope. There’s no better validation of Westchester Land Trust’s mission and programs than knowing that thousands turn to their land in times of crisis. WLT’s preserved lands not only protect natural resources and provide a home for wildlife in our fragmented region, but these lands also provide a space for people to spend much needed time outside. Spending time outdoors is critical for childhood development and is increasingly proven to benefit our mental health.
Join old friends and new, and raise a glass to celebrate Westchester Land Trust’s land protection accomplishments that will forever preserve natural lands in our community, and honor the significant contributions of the 2022 honorees.
Community Conservation Honorees: Glenwood Lake Association & Friends of Glenwood Lake Park (New Rochelle) for their grassroots advocacy in ensuring the last remaining parcels around Glenwood Lake, the only lake in the southern part of New Rochelle that includes a 13-acre park around the lake, are permanently preserved.
Youth Conservation Honorees: Halle Vernon (Pound Ridge) and Rhys Healy (Armonk) for their volunteerism in stewarding WLT’s nature preserves including trail work, wildlife habitat protection, and invasive removal.
Halle Vernon first got involved with WLT in the Spring of 2020; when the world was closed, WLT’s Preserves stayed open as a refuge for many, including Halle. While hiking at WLT’s Westchester Wilderness Walk / Zofnass Family Preserve in Pound Ridge, Halle ran into Preserve Manager, John Zeiger and Advisory Board Member, Mike Surdej, as they were building a new kiosk. She asked if John needed more volunteer help and, as they say, the rest is history! It wasn’t long before Halle was helping with projects on WLT Preserves spanning from invasive management, mapping, split log bridge construction, trail clearing, native plant monitoring, and chainsaw work (after obtaining proper safety certification).
Rhys Healy, a 19-year-old knowledgeable naturalist and avid fisherman, can tell you every fish he’s ever caught or bird he has seen! In the Summer of 2020, Rhys started volunteering with WLT with the goal of preserving local ecosystems and gaining research experience to ultimately guide future conservation in Westchester County. The following Fall, Rhys designed an independent project collecting data on the white turtlehead plant, which is the sole native host of the regionally-rare Baltimore Checkerspot’s caterpillars, at WLT’s Pine Croft Meadow Preserve in Waccabuc. In Spring 2021, as part of Byram Hills High School’s internship program, Rhys spent 6 weeks at WLT’s Preserves around the county helping to revitalize habitat by removing invasive plants, planting native species such as white turtlehead, and watering young trees.