100 Days to Save Treetops Campaign (CT) Gains Momentum

Greenwich and Stamford, Connecticut–With roughly 70 days left in the campaign, the 100 Days to Save Treetops Campaign Committee announced today that six lead private donors have stepped forward with $2 million in pledges for the protection of the Treetops property. These pledges are in addition to the recent commitments made to the project by the Greenwich Land Trust and the Stamford Land Conservation Trust. Committee members are optimistic that the total goal of $8 million in private and municipal funding will be raised by January 31, 2001.

“We’re thrilled with the quick and generous response,” said David Ogilvy, chair of the Campaign Committee. “It is clear that people in Greenwich and Stamford are very concerned about protecting this important watershed property. We have a ways to go, but this start is very encouraging.”

Elizabeth Hirsch, vice-chair of the Campaign Committee, stated, “The effort to save Treetops has taken a big step forward with these commitments. When individuals work in concert with local, state and federal entities, wonderful things become possible. We are still looking for a few more angels to bring us closer to our goal. Just after Thanksgiving, we’ll be reaching out to many others in the community asking for their participation.”

Greenwich First Selectman Lolly Prince remarked, “The individuals who have stepped forward have demonstrated a strong commitment to preserving Treetops, and to building a successful public/private partnership. I am grateful for their participation and their recognition of the importance of protecting Treetops as a buffer to our drinking water supply, refuge for wildlife, and scenic treasure.”

According to Tim Northrop, state director for the Trust for Public Land, which holds an agreement to purchase Treetops from International Paper, “The campaign for Treetops has really struck a nerve with Greenwich residents. It shows that people will act swiftly to protect drinking water sources and important natural areas-for themselves, and future generations. We are very optimistic that we will meet the January 31, 2001 deadline set forth in our agreement with International Paper.”

Percy Langstaff, president of the Stamford Land Conservation Trust, said, “We are very pleased with these first major gifts to protect Treetops. We are hopeful that similar donors will step forward in the coming weeks to match the generosity of these individuals. We still have a long way to go. We are the last generation that will be able to save open space in this area. There will be none left very soon.”

The Campaign Committee is continuing to meet with private donors and will be sending out requests for donations to residents of Stamford and Greenwich in the next two weeks. In addition to gifts from individual supporters, the Committee is anticipating contributions from many local nonprofits, clubs, community groups, neighborhood associations, and private foundations.

The City of Stamford and the Town of Greenwich are also expected to contribute. It is anticipated that the Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation will vote in December on an appropriation for Treetops. A final vote must also be taken by the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting in January. And in Stamford, the Board of Finance will also likely vote in December on a contribution to the Treetops project. A successful vote by the board will result in a subsequent vote by the Board of Representatives in January.

For more than three years, area residents have watched with concern as first Champion International and then International Paper considered development proposals for the 110-acre Treetops property. On October 17, 2000, in an exciting breakthrough, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase Treetops from International Paper for $11.5 million. In order to protect Treetops permanently, TPL must secure funding commitments by January 31, 2001. The 100-day campaign to save Treetops began with a $3.5 million commitment from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and now the race is on to raise the remaining $8 million.

Officers of the 100 Days to Save Treetops Campaign include David Ogilvy, chair; Elizabeth Hirsch, vice-chair; George Host, vice-chair; and Paul van der Stricht, honorary chair. Contributions to the 100 Days to Save Treetops Campaign can be sent to the Greenwich Land Trust, P.O. Box 1152, Greenwich, CT 06836 or the Stamford Land Conservation Trust, 307 Ingleside Road, Stamford, CT 06903. For information on making a gift of securities, contact Ann Sawyer at (203) 629-2151 or David Kelly at (203) 869-4046