So when the Norwalk Land Trust had the opportunity to permanently protect a precious piece of their state’s shoreline, the tiny, all-volunteer group rose to the challenge. A local benefactor who didn’t want three proposed “McMansions” to rise on the waterfront gave them their first big break. He paid $4 million to buy the 2.2-acre parcel, located right next to Rowayton’s Farm Creek Preserve, a 14-acre wildlife area managed by the City of Norwalk. He then agreed to pay the mortgage and $40,000 yearly taxes on the property and hold the land until the local land trust could buy it back from him.

Our Role: A Critically Timed Loan to Complete the Deal

The group sprang into action with a fundraising campaign that caught the community’s imagination. Kids held lemonade and cupcake sales. A story in Forbes magazine boosted the project’s visibility, generating a flood of individual and foundation donations. Despite all this, only $2 million had been raised, and the cost of holding the land was becoming too burdensome to the Norwalk Land Trust’s benefactor. The Conservation Fund’s Land Conservation Loan Program stepped in with a crucial $2 million loan to make up the difference between the money already raised and the purchase price for the land.

Why This Project Matters

The purchase of these 2.2 acres for the Farm Creek Preserve permanently protects from development a vital part of Long Island Sound’s tidal estuary ecosystem. Not only does the land provide shelter and food for birds, marine life, plants and animals, but it gives urban families a rare chance to experience nature close to home as they walk on the property’s trails. A new generation of conservationists learns about the value of protected open space every year, when hundreds of fourth-graders from Norwalk’s elementary schools participate in field trips at the preserve.

Farm Creek is special because there aren’t any other places quite like it. Sixty percent of Connecticut’s coast has been developed. This is our little effort to preserve a small piece of Connecticut’s coast where wildlife and humans can coexist.
--Marny Smith, President, Norwalk Land Trust

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Conserving Farm Creek Preserve

Produced by Campaign For Farm Creek Preserve
A look at the history of Farm Creek in Rowayton, CT and how a community came together to save this beautiful piece of property, forever.