Honoring Joan O’Neill

Joan O’Neill, former MLCT director, officer, and chair of the Land Acquisition Committee, was elected Honorary Director by the MLCT membership in November 2010. Joan spent many years on the board and served the Land Trust in almost every capacity, including Secretary, Vice-President, newsletter editor, leader of innumerable hikes, and organizer of the annual Moonlight Walk. One of her most important contributions was her service as chair of the Land Acquisition Committee, devising a long-range acquisition plan, laying the groundwork for land donations, and coordinating acquisitions.
When the Regional Water Authority (RWA) announced in 2000 that it planned to sell 115 acres located west of the traffic circle, Joan became an impassioned supporter of the project, now known as the Neck River Uplands (NRU) preserve, the largest land purchase in MLCT history. She undertook an aggressive grant application program that resulted in generous donations from the CT Department of Environmental Protection, the Erwin C. Bauer Charitable Trust, the Archbold Charitable Trust, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and many others. In great part due to her efforts, the MLCT was able to pay off its mortgages to the RWA on schedule in 2008 and 2010. A beautiful moss-covered trail on the NRU northern parcel bears her name.

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