Crown Jewel Walks

For the past few years, the Thetford Conservation Commission (TCC) has asked select landowners if TCC members might walk their properties.The purpose of these "Crown Jewel Walks" is both to offer information to Thetford residents, but also to help the Conservation Commission know what properties in town are truly special.The walks usually include several TCC members who are particularly knowledgeable about flora and fauna and can point out interesting features of someone's land. After each walk, commission members send the landowner a compiled inventory of various resources for their reference. Landowners do not have to profess interest in conserving their land to be offered a
Crown Jewel Walk although it is hoped that they might consider this option in the future.
Project Contact: Skip Sturman
Project Contact Email:
Project Lifespan: 2011-present
Project Accomplishments:
Conservation commission members have done seven Crown Jewel Walks over the past four years. From these walks, a tremendous amount of information has been provided to landowners while informing commission members of properties particularly valuable for conservation.These walks have helped the conservation commission become more proactive rather than reactive when presented with conservation opportunities. For example,in 2013 a Crown Jewel walk on Ely Mountain ultimately led the TCC to lead the charge-along with the Upper Valley Land Trust- in raising $30k to conserve 208 acres on this property at the end of 2014.
Project Partners:
Thetford Conservation Commission
Critical to Success:
Getting permission to walk on private land has depended greatly on the personal connection between conservation commission members and individuals of the greater Thetford community. Networking skills are particularly critical in acquiring interest in the Crown Jewel Walks. The entire initiative from start to finish depends on the personal connections and volunteered time of various members of the Thetford community.
A particular challenge of the program is getting permission from landowners to walk on their land. This has much to do with the fact that the walks may initially come across as having a hidden agenda. Solidifying how to communicate with landowners in a way that assures them of their motives for the program has been an ongoing process and relies heavily on the trust between community members. It is hoped that these walks may continue to serve both the landowners and the conservation commission alike.