When it became clear earlier this year that large, in-person gatherings would have to pause for the foreseeable future, Westchester Land Trust (WLT) quickly worked to transform its Annual Benefit to an online format. And now, with overwhelming support from the local community, WLT is set to launch its ‘Reimagined’ event online May 26, offering a suite of entertaining and inspiring content and activities that will run through June 6. The Benefit, which is the largest annual fundraiser for WLT, will spotlight the natural places that sustain the community, as well as the people that protect them.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, WLT’s preserves have experienced unprecedented levels of visitation, requiring staff to redouble efforts to keep them safe, accessible, and open, at a time when many others were forced to close. In addition, the nonprofit land trust has seen increased demand for fresh, nutritious, locally grown vegetables to help neighbors in need. This year’s Annual Benefit will help to raise funds that are now critically needed to keep preserves open and support the farm garden at its Sugar Hill Farm headquarters. WLT protects nearly 9,000 acres of woodlands, farmland, wetlands, and coastlines in eastern Putnam and Westchester Counties, and the importance of open space for public use and enjoyment and the growing of produce has never been more apparent.
All are invited to join the online activities which will feature an auction, complete with beautiful hand-crafted goods made by local craftspeople, destination trips (for when travel restrictions are lifted), and unique packages that can be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s home. The online programming offers fun for all ages and will showcase stunning footage of WLT’s protected lands, a few surprise guest appearances, and heartwarming examples of the immediate and positive impact supporters are having on the treasured people and places of the region.
The event’s “Fund-A-Need” will support the farm garden at WLT’s headquarters, Sugar Hill Farm. Since the garden was established in 2012, more than 59,000 servings of food have been grown with the help of hundreds of volunteers and donated to the Community Center for Northern Westchester and other food justice nonprofits. Fund-A-Need levels start at $50 to support the purchase of irrigation supplies and go up to $1,000 to support the stipend for the on-site farmer.
Based in Bedford Hills, the Westchester Land Trust works with public and private partners to preserve land in perpetuity and to enhance the natural resources in Westchester and eastern Putnam counties—a densely populated region under persistent threat from the pressures of development. More than 15 miles of hiking trails are protected by WLT and open to the public, free of charge, year-round. Through conservation easements and outright acquisition, WLT’s efforts benefit the long-term health of these communities by safeguarding air quality, food supplies, and community character, as well as critical watershed areas.
To view the silent auction and support Westchester Land Trust’s food-growing program, visit westchesterlandtrust.org , connect on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WLandTrust) and Instagram (@WestchesterLandTrust). The online activities will run from May 26th – June 6th. For additional information contact Michelle Pleim at 914.234.6992 ext 22 or Michelle@westchesterlandtrust.org