News & Events

2018 Annual Meeting – Nov. 11, 5:00 pm

Regan Downey, Director of Education at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in South Salem, NY., will be our featured speaker. Regan teaches many of the WCC’s onsite education programs and works with groups of all ages to develop engaging and interactive environmental education lessons. After college, Regan’s passion for conservation education brought her to the Wildlife Conservation Society where she worked in the Education Department for six months before accepting a position at the WCC as the Youth Education Coordinator. She became the Director of Education in 2018, and works closely with the WCC’s Executive Director to develop and execute various conservation and awareness-raising initiatives. Their most recent project emphasizes coyote coexistence and the WCC recently hosted a coyote lecture at the Mamaroneck Public Library, building off of their Coyote Awareness Day series at Muscoot Farm.

A short business meeting will precede the presentation by Regan Downey and DLT Members will be asked to approve a slate of Board of Trustees, including new Trustees Susan Balloch, Elizabeth Mathus, Michael Sgroe, and Timothy Stisser.

Refreshments will be available.

October Film Series: “BearTrek”

Join us at the Darien Library on Wednesday, October 17, at 7 p.m. for a film screening of BearTrek.

The third installment of our October Film Series offers “BearTrek”, an epic feature documentary following bear ecologist and conservationist Chris Morgan on a global crusade to four continents to discover the wondrous world of bears.

Join Chris as he uncovers the secretive nature of some of the world’s most endangered bears, meets the dedicated individuals racing to save them, and reignites his passion with every mile.

This film is co-sponsored by Darien Library, Darien Environmental Group, and Darien Land Trust.





More from the October Film Series

Our next and last film screening as part of the series hosted at the Darien Library:
October 24th – Wasted: The Story of Food Waste

Anthony Bourdain film about the 1.3 billion tons of food thrown away each year and possible solutions.

We hope you can join us and enjoy all of these exciting films on October Wednesdays!

October Film Series: “Bag It”

Join us at the Darien Library on Wednesday, October 10, at 7 p.m. for a film screening of Bag It.

Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes that we mindlessly throw away. But where is “away?” Where do the bags and other plastics end up, and at what cost to our environment, marine life, and human health?

Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Jeb is not a radical environmentalist, but an average American who decides to take a closer look at our cultural love affair with plastics. Jeb’s journey in this documentary film starts with simple questions: Are plastic bags really necessary? What are plastic bags made from? What happens to plastic bags after they are discarded? Jeb looks beyond plastic bags and discovers that virtually everything in modern society — from baby bottles, to sports equipment, to dental sealants, to personal care products — is made with plastic or contains potentially harmful chemical additives used in the plastic-making process. When Jeb’s journey takes a personal twist, we see how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up with us and what we can do about it. Today. Right now.






The film is co-sponsored by BYO Darien and The Darien Library and Darien Land Trust.

More Films at the Darien Library:

October 17th – Bear Trek
An epic journey to find the most endangered bears and learn how to protect them.

October 24th – Wasted: The Story of Food Waste
Anthony Bourdain film about the 1.3 billion tons of food thrown away each year and possible solutions.

Please put these Wednesday evening films on your calendar.

Environmental Films in October: “A Plastic Ocean”

Join us at the Darien Library on Wednesday, October 3, at 7 p.m. for a film screening of A Plastic Ocean.

A Plastic Ocean is an epic global adventure following a filmmaker and a world record free-diver as they travel the earth discovering the shocking impact plastic is having on our oceans and the marine animals that live there.

Co-sponsors: Darien Environmental Group, Darien Nature Center, Darien Library, and Darien Land Trust.

After the film, there will be a short discussion led by Peter Linderoth, Water Quality Program Manager at Save the Sound.

More Films at the Darien Library:

October 10 – Bag It
A man whose life is changed when he makes a pledge not to use plastic bags.

October 17th – Bear Trek
An epic journey to find the most endangered bears and learn how to protect them.

October 24th – Wasted: The Story of Food Waste
Anthony Bourdain film about the 1.3 billion tons of food thrown away each year and possible solutions.

Please put these Wednesday evening films on your calendar.

DLT Director Shirley Nichols Retires

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.

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, 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.

The organization’s current mission statement reads, “The Darien Land Trust permanently preserves and restores open space, providing the community with environmentally rich habitats, scenic vistas, opportunities for educational experiences and the quiet enjoyment of nature.”

During her time as executive director Nichols said the organization has shifted its own stewardship practices to promote a healthier ecosystem around its preserves. In pursuit of that mission, Nichols launched a number of successful initiatives, often partnering with other organizations both locally and at the state level. The Land Trust recently celebrated the completion of the Noroton River fishway in April after several years of partnership with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment’s Save the Sound Program.

Save the Sound approached the Darien Land Trust in 2011 to help open a fishway at a culvert near the Stamford-Darien border. Redesigning the culvert, which connects with the Darien Land Trust’s Olson Woods property, was the key step in re-opening a 6.8-mile stretch of the river for migratory fish.

“As an organization we’ve learned to look after our land in a more environmentally compelling fashion, so we actually have living landscapes for pollinators and birds that are migrating through.”

Among the Land Trusts preserves Nichols said she is particularly fond of Mather Meadows, and often visits the space to admire the birds, butterflies and insects. In 2015, the Land Trust held an exhibit at the Darien Nature Center for a photography exhibit called Our Meadows Alive and Buzzing, showcasing local pollinators visiting the preserve. This year the land trust was able to replace 10 dying trees with red maples, refreshing the space for decades to come.

“That was really rewarding to me, to know that those trees will be there for the next 100 years,” Nichols said. “We’re in the business of forever. Stuff we do will always be here, no matter what happens. Things change, zoning laws change, people’s way of living will change, but as long as there are stewards of the property and people willing to step up and help, those 217 acres will always be open space.”

The Land Trust has also been able to provide variety of hands-on educational opportunities for kids. A few years ago when Darien Public Schools chose to defund school field trips, Nichols decided to invite the district’s second graders to have an annual field day at several of the Land Trust’s preserves. Though the first year was piloted and funded by the Land Trust, the field trip was adopted into the public school budget the next year for all elementary schools.

Nichols also launched a Trails Discovery Day in Dunlap Woods, giving young people a chance to participate in a 1.5-mile treasure hunt with different stations along the path. Each station was operated by a volunteer expert who helps hikers witness and understand the different wildlife living around the preserve. During the winter months, the Nichols worked with the Darien Library to host environmentally-focused films.

Nichols was appreciative of all of the local organizations she has worked with in Darien, from the Board of Selectmen, Planning & Zoning Department and the town assessor in Town Hall, to the Eco-citizens club at Darien High School, volunteers from Whole Foods and everyone else in-between. Nichols thanked the 24-member board of the Land Trust for giving her the opportunity to serve the community through the years.

“I’ve been privileged to work with really amazing people who have given so much time and energy voluntarily, to keep these open spaces viable, significant and healthy. It’s always been an honor and a privilege to work for them.”

Though she will no longer be involved with the day-to-day operations of the Land Trust, Nichols will continue to serve on the Steering Committee of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, which advocates for land trusts across the state. Nichols will spend her new free time doing more travelling and is already planning to participate in a service project next year in Cambodia. As she steps away from her role as executive director she repeated a quote from anthropologist and author Margaret Mead.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”



Fourth Annual Farm to Table Dinner was a Smash Hit!

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 nearly 220 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.

The DLT 4th Annual Farm to Table Dinner

The Darien Land Trust invites you to the 2018 Farm to Table Dinner on Saturday, August 25th, at Waterbury Field. Cocktails will be served at 6:00 p.m. and the al fresco dinner begins at 7:00 p.m.

Waterbury Field is located in Darien, and parking is at Wee Burn Country Club, 410 Hollow Tree Ridge Road.

The cost is $150.00 per person. Last year, this sold-out event drew 250 guests to celebrate the DLT’s contribution to the community with cocktails, dinner, and dancing to live music.

A locally sourced, creative New England menu will be served under twinkling lights at long tables in Waterbury Field.

Note: this year’s Farm to Table Dinner has sold out. However, we are keeping a waiting list. If you would like to be added to the list, please call Shirley at 203.655.4148.

Spring Trail Fix Day

Volunteers! Come join us on Earth Day this year for our annual Spring Trail Fix Day: two hours of clean-up, repairing trails, and spreading wood chips.

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at Dunlap/Selleck’s Woods in Darien.



  • Bring the family, a fork, a rake, and (if possible) a wheelbarrow
  • Wear gloves and working shoes
  • Park at the end of Parkland Drive, off of Old Kings Hwy North (Go past the construction site)
  • See the woods, lake, and daffodils, improve your nature preserve, and enjoy the camaraderie

Mark your calendars, and we hope to see you there!

DLT Green and Glam: A Ladies’ Night

Join the Darien Land Trust for a Ladies’ Night at Nielsen’s Florist & Garden Shop, at 1405 Post Road, on

Thursday, April 19th, 2018: 7pm – 9pm.

Discover how to introduce native plants to enhance your garden.

Enjoy hors d’oeuvres (grateful to our host, Nielsens) and our signature Green Goddess Cocktail (courtesy of Broken Shed Vodka) with old friends and new!

$20 donation at the door.

Film Screening: “An Inconvenient Sequel”

Thursday, April 26, 2018
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Darien Library, Community Room

(2017) Starring Al Gore, George W. Bush, and John Kerry. Rated PG for thematic elements and some troubling images. 100 minutes. Presented with captions for the hearing impaired.

A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought the climate crisis into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Former Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight, traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy.

Cameras follow him behind the scenes — in moments both private and public, funny and poignant — as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.

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