Grant Will Help Save Mather Meadows (CT)

DARIEN, Connecticut, 9/12/02: Today, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced an award of $500,500 to the Land Trust of Darien from the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program. The grant will be applied towards the purchase of 3.4 acres located near the intersection of Stephen Mather and Brookside Roads, the second phase in the larger 9-acre Mather Meadows project. The award was hailed by the Land Trust of Darien and its Mather Meadows campaign partner, the Trust for Public Land.

“We are gratified to receive this second grant from the State to support the largest project in the history of the Land Trust,” said Bruce Orr, Capital Campaign Co-Chair for the Land Trust of Darien. “This grant gives us positive momentum leading up to our Town-wide campaign that will conclude our capital fundraising efforts. The community should be thrilled to see their State tax dollars coming back to them in a very visible and substantive way. These Open Space grants, combined with the generosity of the Darien community, will allow us to preserve a unique and beautiful property forever”.

“The Trust for Public Land commends the State of Connecticut for recognizing the importance of this project to the local community,” said Alicia Betty, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “Combined with last April’s DEP award of $950,000, a Town commitment of $100,000, and $1.4 million in private fundraising, the Mather Meadows campaign is close to meeting its goal of $3.8 million. We still have nearly $850,000 to raise by our deadline of November 1, 2002, however, and will be working hard to reach this goal. We urge local residents to consider making a donation towards the preservation of these historic meadows.” Donations for the Mather Meadows Campaign can be sent to the Land Trust of Darien, P.O. Box 1074, Darien, CT 06820.

Owned by the McPherson family, Mather Meadows is made up of two parcels located near the border of Darien, New Canaan, and Norwalk. The roughly 6-acre West parcel and 3.4-acre East parcel face each other across Brookside Road, and both include frontage on Stephen Mather Road. The property borders Darien’s only National Historic Landmark, the Mather Homestead, which was built in 1778 by Deacon Joseph Mather. Stephen Mather (grandson of Deacon Joseph Mather) was the founder of the National Park Service and helped to double the number of National Parks during his tenure as Assistant Secretary of the Interior from 1915 to 1929.

In a town with very little remaining open space, the scenic meadows are one of the community’s defining landscapes. The property is located between two other parcels of conservation land. A 1.2-acre parcel owned by the Darien Land Trust lies directly to the North and a 2-acre parcel also owned by the Land Trust lies to the South along Mather Pond. This half-mile long greenway will provide both habitat for wildlife and scenic views from the road. The primary goal of The Land Trust of Darien, Inc. is to preserve and protect open space in Darien. Preservation of open space benefits our community by adding to quality-of-life values for the residents of our town, including the preservation of its rural character.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 3,000 acres in Connecticut. For more information about TPL’s work in this state, visit