News & Events


DLT Director Shirley Nichols Retires

Shirley Nichols with her sons Ben, Will, and Luke, August 25, 2018.Shirley Nichols with her sons Ben, Will, and Luke, August 25, 2018.

Source: DarienTimes, by Kevin Webb, August 30, 2018

After 14 years as the executive director of the Darien Land Trust, Shirley Nichols will be stepping away from the day-to-day operations of the organization. She will continue to work with the DLT as a trustee emeritus and will assist Beth Harmon, the new executive director, with the transition starting in September.

Beth Harmon and Amy Sarbinowski, DLT trustees. Harmon is taking Nichols’ place as executive director.Beth Harmon and Amy Sarbinowski, DLT trustees. Harmon is taking Nichols’ place as executive director.

Land Trust President Flip Huffard made the announcement during the Land Trust's fourth annual Farm to Table dinner on Aug. 25, held on the DLT's Waterbury Field preserve.

Flip Huffard and Shirley Nichols at the Darien Land Trust Farm to Table dinner, August 25, 2018Flip Huffard and Shirley Nichols at the Darien Land Trust Farm to Table dinner, August 25, 2018

Having earned a masters in environmental sustainability from the University of Reading in England, Nichols has always been committed to preserving nature. Nichols joined the Land Trust in 2004 as her children were entering high school and has worked as the sole staff member with a 24-member volunteer board.

Originally founded in 1960, the Darien Land Trust takes responsibility for the preservation of open space in Darien, a town that is 97% developed. Under her stewardship the Land Trust added 59 acres of undeveloped land, increasing the Land Trust’s preserves to a total of 217 acres across Darien.

Beyond simply protecting this open space, Nichols has worked with board members, volunteers and dozens of local organizations to enrich the environment and promote community engagement with nature. During her tenure she worked with the board to revise the Land Trust’s mission with a new focus on the preservation of natural habitats and educational opportunities for children and adults of all ages.

Read More: DLT Director Shirley Nichols Retires

Posted on Thursday, September 06, 2018

Fourth Annual Farm to Table Dinner was a Smash Hit!

Darien Land Trust Farm to Table Dinner 2018

Thank you to those who joined us for our 4th annual Farm to Table dinner on Saturday night! 248 loyal DLT supporters were served a delicious locally sourced meal on a stunning conserved property -- Waterbury Field.

This special event is our way of celebrating the more than 200 acres of land that the Darien Land Trust protects and preserves for our community.

Our great thanks to co-chairs Janet Cling, Beth Harmon, Michelle Imbrogno, Nina Miller, Erika Morris, and Amy Sarbinowski for their terrific efforts and hard work.

Thanks to all the local businesses that sponsored the evening including:

  • Baywater Properties
  • Halstead Property
  • Laurel Road Bank
  • BMW of Darien
  • Dr. Gregory LaTrenta
  • M C & T Investments
  • Rings End
  • Wine Port of Darien

And thanks to those local businesses that donated in-kind gifts:

  • Ravo Vodka
  • Butternut Gardens
  • Nielsen’s Florist
  • Pestech
  • Two Roads Brewing Co.

2018 Farm to Table Dinner, Darien Land Trust

Read More: Fourth Annual Farm to Table Dinner was a Smash Hit!

Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2018

“Chasing Ice” Documentary Shown on May 12th

Chasing Ice

On Thursday, May 12th, the Darien Land Trust was pleased to sponsor a showing of the documentary Chasing Ice (96% rating, Rotten Tomatoes) at the Darien Library.

Chasing Ice is a 2012 documentary film about the efforts of nature photographer James Balog to publicize the effects of climate change and was directed by Jeff Orlowski and filmed in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska,

Balog was initially skeptical about climate change when the issue entered scientific discussion, but after his first trip north, he becomes convinced of the impact that humans have on the planet and becomes committed to bringing the story to the public. Within months of the first trip to Iceland, Balog initiated "The Extreme Ice Survey," an expedition to collect data on the seasonal changes of glaciers. Balog and his team deployed cameras that utilized time-lapse photography to capture a multi-year record of the world’s glaciers. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at an alarming rate.

Traveling with a team of young adventureers across the brutal Arctic, Balog risked his career and his well-being in pursuit of the biggest story facing humanity. As the debate polarizes America, and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Chasing Ice depicts a heroic photojournalist on a mission to deliver fragile hope to our carbon-powered planet.

The Darien Land Trust was proud to co-sponsor this film along with the Darien Library, the Garden Club of Darien, and the Darien Nature Center.

Click Chasing Ice for more information about this documentary.

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lecture with Michael Wojtech, “Know Your Trees”, February 2nd

The DLT was pleased to sponsor a lecture by naturalist Michael Wojtech titled "Know Your Trees" on February 2nd at the Darien Library. In addition to learning about species identification, we discovered why such a variety of bark characteristics exist. Why do some species have smooth bark, while on others it is thick and broken? Why do layers of bark peel away in curly strips?

Michael left a 15-year business career to pursue his love of natural history and writing, and earned his Masters in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England. His thesis, on tree bark, became the basis for his book, the field guide "Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast." Michael is a freelance writer, educator, illustrator and photographer. His main focus is trees, but he encounters many other aspects of natural history that he can't help but dive into. He lives tucked into the woods of western Massachusetts. Michael will be available to sign copies of his book. For more details visit:

The Darien Land Trust is proud to have co-sponsored this event with the Darien Library, the Tree Conservancy of Darien and the Darien Nature Center.

Posted on Monday, March 07, 2016

Annual Meeting Held November 15th At Wee Burn Country Club


Posted on Monday, November 16, 2015

DLT’s Pumpkin Trail on October 25th


Yesterday ~600 people came out for the Darien Nature Center's Hoot & Howl event and the Darien Land Trust's Pumpkin Trail on DLT paths behind the Darien Nature Center. Volunteers donated spooky, spectacular carved pumpkin for the Darien Land Trust's Pumpkin Trail, an exhibit of jack o' lanterns on woodland trails at the Darien Nature Center's Hoot 'n Howl event. Thank you to everyone for their support. We hope everyone had a great time!

Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nursery Schools Tour of Sellecks/Dunlap Woods

Fccns sellecks tour nina miller

In November, DLT board members Nina Miller and Chris Filmer led a tour of nursery school students and teachers through the paths of Sellecks/Dunlap Woods. People explored paths, identified animal prints, saw the animals of the woods at Eye Spy Corner, scampered up climbing rocks, and found a “letter box” in one of the stone walls. Nursery and elementary school tours are conducted throughout the spring and autumn. Please contact the DLT if you are interested in working with us to set one up for your organization.

Read More: Nursery Schools Tour of Sellecks/Dunlap Woods

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2015

Corporate Volunteer Day: XL Catlin In Goodwives Meadow

Volunteers from XL Catlin

In mid-October, 2015, volunteers from XL Catlin appeared at Darien Land Trust’s Goodwives Meadow to help with habitat restoration and land protection. The DLT works closely with local businesses to work on one-day projects on preserved land to enhance the appearance, safety, and usability of the land. Through hands-on experience that are fun and rewarding such as this, volunteers gain an understanding of the importance of preserving natural landscapes and the effective impact of their work. In working with XL Catlin, the DLT handled all project details and customized the project to ease the ability of the company to carry out this type of community service. We thank XL Catlin for its contribution and working with us!

Posted on Sunday, November 01, 2015

“Wings of Life” movie shown at the Darien Library

We were joined for the showing of Disneynature's "Wings of Life" movie on Saturday, June 13th at the Darien Library.

From Disneynature, the studio that brought you "Earth", "Oceans", "African Cats" and "Chimpanzee", comes "Wings of Life" - a stunning adventure full of intrigue, drama and mesmerizing beauty.  Narrated by Meryl Streep, this intimate and unprecedented look at butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, bats and flowers is a celebration of life, as a third of the world's food supply depends on these incredibe - and increasingly threated - creatures.  

The documentary follows the journey of these pollinators, some of whom travel amazing distances to pollinate a very specific flower. Nature-loving young viewers will enjoy a look at nature's unsung heroes.

This movie was sponsored by the Darien Land Trust, the Garden Club of Darien and the Darien Library.

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Annual Spring Trail Fix at Dunlap/Selleck’s Woods

Volunteers joined the DLT for our Annual Trail Fix and clean up repairing trails and spreading wood chips on Sunday, April 19th in Dunlap/Selleck's Woods. 30+ volunteers of all ages joined us as rakers and forkers to spread wood chips in 3 teams throughout the nature preserve. Thank you for helping us with trail maintenance.

Co-sponsored by the Darien Land Trust and the Friends of Sellecks Woods

Posted on Monday, September 28, 2015