Now approximately 10 months since hiring Trent, the NFA has had a chance to reflect on what this means for the land trust and what they continue to see for the future. Trent himself described the time as “exhilarating” and likened it to being the “CEO of a startup that has a century’s worth of resources at its disposal.” Since his hiring, membership has tripled from 80 to over 250, with expectations that it will continue to grow. Fundraising, community outreach, the number of volunteers, and donations have all likewise increased. Bob underscored the impact that Trent has had on these changes, describing him as a “skilled natural resource educator and a seasoned director, having guided other like-minded organizations successfully along with being self-motivated, and eager to make things happen and get things done.”
With the increased capacity to follow through on specific goals and the NFA’s mission, the outlook that Bob, Guy, and Trent have for the land trust is positive. Both Bob and Guy expressed that they are now able to accomplish things on the board’s “wish list,” such as expanding public outreach, establishing a social media presence, and of course expanding protected land. Trent says his vision is “centered around continuing to layer our many preserves and properties into the fabric of the town and have the NFA be a pillar of life in Newtown.” As they continue on its mission of preserving open space and forests for public enjoyment and future generations, the NFA hopes to build on its previous accomplishments as Connecticut’s oldest land trust and continue to evolve.
You can learn more about the Newtown Forest Association on their website or follow them on Facebook. Special thanks to Bob Eckenrode, Guy Peterson, and Trent McCann for sharing their insights with us!