On Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, six members of the Wellfleet Conservation Trust traveled to the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Bourne to attend the Southeastern Massachusetts Land Trust Convocation.
The 16th annual Convocation brought together 110 members of the SE Mass. land conservation community for presentations and workshops.
One morning workshop discussed large land acquisition projects, which might appear at first too costly to pursue in terms of time, money, or other resources. This echoed a tribute at the convocation to Truro’s Ansel Burt Chaplin.
Chaplin had co-founded the Truro Conservation Trust, leading coalition efforts to preserve High Head and many scenic spots along the Pamet River. In 1984 he began convening local land trusts on the lower Cape to learn from one another. This led to the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, the “oldest self-sustaining regional network of land trusts in the US.”
Another workshop focused on Cultural Respect Access Agreements. We learned about a pioneer agreement regarding 250 acres in Dennis, the first native-led land trust agreement in the Eastern US.
In the afternoon, a workshop centered on effective communication to attract volunteers, build partnerships, or raise funds.
Finally, one workshop used case studies to illustrate about how trees are not always the answer for land conservation. But creating open habitats, meadows, and shrublands and keeping them from maturing into dense woods is not as easy as it may appear.
In the middle of the day, participants heard an inspiring talk by Jack Clarke, Director of Advocacy for MassAudubon: Where Do We Go From Here? The Environmental Challenges Ahead. He outlined the new challenges facing environmental protection efforts, nationally and internationally, while emphasizing the impact that local conservation can make.