Land Trust-Audubon Merger Complete


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Land Trust-Audubon merger complete

Dr. David Wright of the New Canaan Audubon Society, left, presents a $21,000 check to Chris Schipper for the New Canaan Land Trust. David Rucci, right, of Lambert, Toohey & Rucci, provided legal counsel to the Land Trust for the memorandum of understanding and asset transfer between the two conservation organizations.
Dr. David Wright of the New Canaan Audubon Society, left, presents a $21,000 check to Chris Schipper for the New Canaan Land Trust. David Rucci, right, of Lambert, Toohey & Rucci, provided legal counsel to the Land Trust for the memorandum of understanding and asset transfer between the two conservation organizations.
The seven New Canaan Audubon properties are now part of the New Canaan Land Trust. Dr. David Wright, the Audubon president, presented a check for $21,000 to Chris Schipper, president of the Land Trust, recently to finalize the merger of the two longtime New Canaan conservation groups.
“Adding birding activities to the open space and wildlife sanctuary mission of the Land Trust is a natural step,” Schipper said last year.
Bringing the seven Audubon parcels of 56 acres into the Land Trust increases holdings by 20% and adds more than 100 near neighbors as potential new members. Together, the organization can promote the benefits of preserving open space as wildlife sanctuaries, as well as the scenic beauty of New Canaan.
Wright and Audubon director William Picard have been invited to join the Land Trust Board.
The money from the Audubon Society will be applied to the Land Trust endowment supporting open space, wildlife sanctuaries and the scenic beauty of New Canaan. David Rucci of Lambert, Toohey & Rucci provided legal counsel to the Land Trust regarding the memorandum of understanding and asset transfer between the two conservation organizations. 
The Land Trust was founded by Jack Gunther in 1967. It holds around 311 acres of land — 260 acres in perpetuity in a natural state for the benefit of all New Canaan residents to wander through the woods, open pastures and trails, as well as 51 acres of conservation easements that are still owned by private individuals.
Gunther was the group’s first president and served until 1982. The Trust’s second president, Art Potts, who served as president for the past 28 years, stepped down from his post in January 2013 and handed over the reigns to Schipper.
Much of the Land Trust’s sanctuaries are parcels of donated land. Funding is also donation-based and the organization operates on about $10,000 a year.