25Mar 2015

A $200,000 Challenge Gift for the Stella Niagara Preserve, and More!

stella 3Challenge Gift for the Stella Niagara Preserve
On Thursday, February 26, the Land Conservancy and the Friends of the Stella Niagara Preserve hosted a fundraiser at the Castellani Art Museum on the Niagara University Campus. The event was meant to help us reach our goal of raising more than $3.2 million needed to create the Stella Niagara Preserve by June 1, 2015.

The event was incredibly successful. We had a great venue, a great mix of project supporters, great conversations, great food and drinks, and great presentations from donors. By the end of what was a very long day, we were still approximately $400,000 away from our fundraising goal. We were feeling good, but trying to think of what to do next. As people began to leave the museum, a couple approached us. They had an offer – to provide a $200,000 challenge gift that will match each new donation, dollar for dollar!

stella 1That couple was Pamela and Joe Priest. They told us: “We couldn’t have asked for a more personally fulfilling cause to support than the Stella Niagara Preserve project. Our family drives by its location on Lower River Road almost daily and enjoys the pastoral scenery it provides when boating on the Niagara River in the summer. The Stella Niagara Preserve is especially meaningful to us because our children both graduated from the adjacent Stella Niagara Education Park. Our daughter continues to be educated by the Sisters of St. Francis at the Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart. The Stella Niagara Preserve project continues the tradition of stewardship and protection of the environment that the Sisters […]

26Jan 2015

Protecting the Monkelbaan Farm in Amherst, and More!

The Monkelbaan Farm
Last week, the Land Conservancy and the Town of Amherst finalized a conservation easement on the 67-acre Monkelbaan Farm on Hopkins Road in Amherst, protecting that land for farming in perpetuity. The farm’s development rights were purchased with $357,120 from a NYS Ag and Markets Farmland Protection Implementation Grant and $75,507 from the Town of Amherst. The property owners contributed $35,953 through a bargain sale of the development rights.

The Monkelbaan Farm’s fertile soils are some of the most productive in Amherst and have supported agriculture for generations. The land was already being farmed when the Monkelbaans purchased the property in 1946. The Monkelbaans used it as a dairy farm and later transitioned to growing vegetables. Ever since the Monkelbaans retired from farming in the early 1990s, other local farmers have rented the property to grow corn and wheat. The property is also ecologically important, and includes a woodlot, a meadow, and a forested riparian area along Ransom Creek. These natural areas provide important habitat for wildlife and help maintain water quality in the creek. With the conservation easement in place, this land will provide wildlife habitat and be available for farming forever.

The Monkelbaan Farm conservation easement is part of a long range effort by the Town and the Land Conservancy to team up with private landowners to protect farmland in Amherst, and is the thirteenth conservation easement on farmland to be co-held by the Land Conservancy and the Town of Amherst. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen!

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Now Hiring!
The Land Conservancy is expanding and is now seeking a new Community Engagement Director. The purpose of this new position is to […]

16Dec 2014

Good News from Stella Niagara, and More!

Stella Niagara Preserve Receives a $50,000 Grant
The Land Conservancy was recently awarded $50,000 from the Gallogly Family Foundation to help create the Stella Niagara Preserve along the Niagara River in Lewiston. The Land Conservancy has now received just over $2.7 million of the more than $3.2 million needed to create the Stella Niagara Preserve. Although the Gallogly Family Foundation is based in Houston, Texas, the foundation has local ties. The foundation’s Executive Director, Kasey DeLuke, lives in Buffalo, and her in-laws live in Lewiston near the Stella Niagara Preserve property. Kasey said, “Earlier this year we saw the Land Conservancy’s Stella Niagara Preserve brochure in a local coffee shop. The preserve property is so well-known for its gorgeous views of the Niagara River that we decided to contribute. What’s more, the proceeds from the sale of the property to the Land Conservancy will help the Sisters of St. Francis sustain their programs for youth and women.” Please click HERE to read the complete article about the grant.

Eagle Scout Project Enhances the Mill Road Scenic Overlook
Thanks to the efforts of Quinn Schwab and members of Boy Scout Troop # 238, the Mill Road Scenic Overlook has had a clean-up. For his Eagle Scout Service Project Quinn led the cleanup of debris that was the last remnant of a long-ago farm dump that had been hidden in a ravine on the property. The Eagle Scout Service Project is generally the last requirement the scout has to complete in order to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The main purpose of the project is for the scout to show that he has learned leadership skills and then use these skills in carrying out the project. The […]

7Nov 2014

Check Out Our Fall 2014 Newsletter, and More!

Our Fall 2014 Newsletter is HereThe Resource Fall 2014_Page_1
Most of you have already received the fall 2014 newsletter, ‘The Resource’, in the mail this week. If you haven’t seen the newsletter, a digital version is available for download HERE. The fall newsletter includes great articles about our work to protect the most important forest, farms, and scenic vistas throughout the region. Did you know that award winning wine comes from grapes grown on one of our protected farms? Did you know that the Niagara Escarpment is home to rare plants, animals, and ecological communities? Did you know that the Mill Road Scenic Overlook in Aurora is now open to the public, or that we are still fundraising to create the Stella Niagara Preserve? Take a look through the newsletter to find out more!

Nature Hikes at Stella Niagara
This fall, we hosted several nature hikes at the future home of the Stella Niagara Preserve in Lewiston. Take a look at some photos by Land Conservancy supporter, Paula Sciuk, of one of those hikes, HERE.

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2014 New Member Drive
The 2014 New Member Drive began in early September and ended on Monday, November 3. With the help of many volunteers, 21 people joined the Land Conservancy as new members. We had a three-way tie for most successful new member recruiter: Lindsay Poole, Jean Hughes, and Mary McCutcheon. Each will win a $50 gift certificate to either Elm Street Bakery, Farmers and Artisans, or Ashkers Juice Bar and Bistro. Thank you everyone who helped recruit new members, and thank you to those new members who joined!

We are always looking […]

6Oct 2014

Ribbon-cutting at Mill Road, and More!

Mill Road Scenic Overlook Opens to Visitors
After a multi-year community effort that raised more than $650,000 to save one of the most iconic and cherished properties along the WNY Southtowns Scenic Byway, the Mill Road Scenic Overlook is now protected in perpetuity and a roadside pull-off is in place to allow for safe access to the property’s extraordinary views. On Tuesday, September 30, the project team, which includes the Town of Aurora, the Friends of Mill Road, and the Land Conservancy, was joined by more than 70 supporters, donors, representatives from local foundations, and numerous elected officials to celebrate this achievement at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This ceremony officially unveiled the overlook to the public and celebrated the hundreds of supporters who led the community effort. A full article about the event can be found HERE.

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Trail-building at Kenneglenn
On Saturday, September 27, we were joined by 15 volunteers as we improved the walking trail above Hunters Creek Gorge at Kenneglenn. We widened the trail by removing vegetation and built a few raised boardwalks over muddy areas. This was all part of an effort to improve access at Kenneglenn, especially its views from Mossy Point overlooking the gorge.

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Our 2014 New Member Drive Continues
The 2014 New Member Drive will continue until November 3. If you aren’t already a member, please consider becoming one by making a donation on our Online Giving Page, or by mailing a check to the Western New York Land Conservancy at P.O. Box 471, East Aurora, NY 14052. The minimum membership donation is $35. If you are already a member, please help us […]

8Sep 2014

2014 New Member Drive, and More!

Help Us With Our New Member Drive Kenneglenn
Members are the heart and soul of the Land Conservancy. Their time, energy, ideas, and financial resources guide our work. This week we begin our 2014 New Member Drive, our annual effort to find new members to join the Land Conservancy. To make the drive successful, we need your help!

If you aren’t already a member, please consider becoming one by making a donation on our Online Giving Page, or by mailing a check to the Western New York Land Conservancy at P.O. Box 471, East Aurora, NY 14052. The minimum membership donation is $35.

If you are already a member, please help us find new members. We are proud of what we have accomplished together – protecting more than 6,000 acres of irreplaceable places like the Kenneglenn Nature Preserve on Hunters Creek Gorge in Wales, the Mill Road Scenic Overlook in Aurora, the Niagara Escarpment Preserve in Lockport, and the many other protected preserves and farms throughout the region. If you are proud of this work as well, then ask your close friends, family, and colleagues to join the effort by becoming members too.

The 2014 New Member Drive will continue until November 3. The Land Conservancy will be offering prizes as an incentive to recruiters. The recruiter who finds the most new members and the recruiter whose new members donate the most money cumulatively will win a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant of their choice, like the Elm Street Bakery, Farmers and Artisans, or Ashkers. If you would like the Land Conservancy to send you membership brochures, mailing envelopes, and personalizable new member letters, please […]

14Aug 2014

Upcoming Birdwatching Hike and More!

Birdwatching at Kenneglenn on September 6

The Land Conservancy is hosting a birdwatching hike at the Kenneglenn Nature Preserve in the Town of Wales on Saturday, September 6, from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM. The hike will be led by Chuck Rosenburg and Jajean Rose-Burney. Chuck is a wetlands biologist at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and one of the region’s leading owl experts. Jajean is the Land Conservancy’s Development Director and has led numerous birding hikes.  Publication8-2014b

The hike should be an exciting one. Fall migration will be in full swing and Kenneglenn’s forests should be alive with birds, including numerous species of woodpeckers, flycatchers, and warblers, among others. Land Conservancy staff have recorded close to 100 species of birds at the preserve in the last two years, and many of these could be seen on the hike.

The hike is free and open to the public, but attendees must register in advance by calling the Land Conservancy at (716) 687-1225, or by emailing info@wnylc.org. Space is limited, so please confirm soon. The hike is appropriate for people of all ages. Please wear long pants and good hiking shoes as we may walk through some undergrowth and muddy patches along the trail. Bring binoculars if you have them. Parking is available at the Kenneglenn Nature Preserve in front of the Land Conservancy office. We will share directions with everyone that registers for the event.

The Mill Road Scenic Overlook is Now Open!009 by Kathy Lasher

Construction on the roadside pull-off at the Mill Road Scenic Overlook is complete, and the pull-off is now open to visitors. This comes […]

22Jul 2014

2014 President’s Appeal, and More!

Reminder: 2014 President’s Appeal

Publication2At the end of June, we sent all of the Land Conservancy’s members and recent donors the 2014 President’s Appeal. This is the most important mid-year fundraising appeal for the Land Conservancy, and donations to the appeal support our continued land conservation work. It is because of past donors that we now protect more than 6,000 acres of Western New York’s most important forests, farms, and scenic vistas, the equivalent of 4,500 football fields of irreplaceable land. If you have not already donated to this year’s Presidents Appeal, please consider responding to the appeal letter that you may have received in the mail or donating on our website by clicking HERE. A full copy of the President’s Appeal letter can be found HERE. Thank you!

Volunteer Cleanup Day at Kenneglenn

work dayOur office building and the gardens that surround it need some help! We are looking for volunteers on Wednesday, August 6, from 1 PM to 5 PM, to join the Land Conservancy in a summer cleanup day at the Kenneglenn Nature Preserve near East Aurora. Andrea Locke, the coordinator for the Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (WNY PRISM), will help start the afternoon off with a talk about invasive species in our region and what you can do to help.

At Kenneglenn, our gardens need some weeding, the hedges need some pruning, the screen doors on the porch need some mending, and a few cedar shingles on the walls need replacing. We need some tools to help with the work (square-edged shovels, loppers, […]

9Jul 2014

Major Grant Award for Stella Niagara, and More!

Announcing a $300,000 Grant for the Stella Niagara Preserve

Publication2We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded $300,000 to help create the Stella Niagara Preserve on the Niagara River in Lewiston! The grant is from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through the Joint Venture Habitat Protection and Restoration Program. It was one of five grants given in the Midwest and Northeast Region for a total of $960,000 all aimed at protecting, restoring, and enhancing 908 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat. It was the only project selected in the Northeast Region. Click HERE for the full press release.

The Stella Niagara Preserve property is one of Western New York’s most scenic, ecologically important, and historically significant places. At 29-acres and over a quarter mile of shoreline, it is the largest remaining, undeveloped, privately-owned property along the Niagara River. Once the property is acquired, we will open it to public access with walking trails, fishing access, and a place to put a kayak in the river.

The Stella Niagara Preserve is now very close to fruition. We have already received more than $2.6 million of the $3.2 million needed to create the preserve. The Land Conservancy is seeking the remainder of the funding from local businesses, foundations, private donors and other funding sources. If you are interested in donating to the Stella Niagara Preserve, please contact the Land Conservancy by calling Executive Director Nancy Smith at (716) 687-1225 or emailing her at nancyrs@wnylc.org.

Click HERE for more information about the Stella Niagara Preserve.

 

Construction Begins on the Roadside Pull-off at Mill Road

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23Jun 2014

Private Tour of Stella Niagara Preserve, and More!

Explore the Future Stella Niagara Preserve

Publication2Help support the Land Conservancy by joining us on a private tour of the future home of the Stella Niagara Preserve. The tour will take place on Sunday, July 13, from 1-3 PM, across from the Stella Niagara Education Park on Lower River Road in Lewiston.

During the tour, you will be able to learn about the property’s War of 1812 history, see its historic chapel and ‘sgraffito’ artwork, experience the natural beauty of the ‘five-mile meadow’ and the ‘Stella landing’, and meet the Sisters of St. Francis who have been its stewards since 1907. Several experts will be joining us and guiding the tour.

You support of the Land Conservancy can make the Stella Niagara Preserve a reality! Help us build an Olmsted-inspired lake-to-lake system of parks and preserves while expanding public access to our waterfront AND preserving a site with cultural, historic and ecological importance that is an irreplaceable part of our heritage.
The cost to join us on the tour is $100 per person. Please RSVP by July 4 by paying in advance. You can pay by using the “Donate” option on our website (www.wnylc.org) or by sending a check to P.O. Box 471, East Aurora, NY 14052, made payable to Western New York Land Conservancy. For more information or to donate to the Stella Niagara Preserve, contact the Land Conservancy at (716) 687-1225 or info@wnylc.org.

Niagara Escarpment Legacy Project report available on our website

Publication1On May 28, the Land Conservancy presented important findings from the Niagara Escarpment Legacy Project at the Pekin Fire Hall in Sanborn. More than 70 people attended the event. […]