The work of a land trust is not all trail clearing, fund raising, paperwork, and documentation. During a first visit to a property, the owner often invites the trust board members into his home, usually the kitchen, to chat for a while. Some of the most satisfying moments come in the form of these Kitchen-table Conversations. Many people want the trust to know their deep feelings for the property. How they grew up exploring it, climbing trees, seeing pheasants fly up, and hearing the frogs in the brook. They mention their friends, their family, and how the land brought them together. Acquisitions of land that will become open to the public are often occasions of joy as the prospective donors think of the people who will have the pleasure of their family land.
Sometimes the “conversation” arrives from afar and in writing: here are some quotes from Richard Carroll who was working in Africa when a portion of his family land was gifted to the CLT. “ My sister Lynn and I were young and that back lot was a world of adventure and wonder, either on foot or with the dogs, or on horse. There were no boundaries between our back lot and the swamp behind, the fields to the side and the ridge above. This was the Cheshire I knew. Now, when I need to go to a peaceful place in my mind, I see myself sitting on the bridge (in Carroll Woods) as the sun filters through the sugar maple leaves.”
Transcripts of Kitchen-table Conversations may not appear in a file folder, but they are among the most rewarding and remembered transactions of any land trust.
Jeanné R.S. Chesanow (former Cheshire Land Trust President)