Mather Meadows Campaign Gains Momentum (CT)

DARIEN, Connecticut, 9/25/02: The campaign to permanently protect the 9-acre Mather Meadows property near the intersection of Stephen Mather and Brookside Roads passed an important milestone today, with the announcement that $1.4 million in contributions and pledges has been raised. This represents the halfway mark in the campaign to raise $2.8 million private donations needed to complete the $3.8 million purchase of the property.

In addition, $1.05 million in public funding has been committed to the project. Last April, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection committed $950,000 through its Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program to help with the purchase and in May, the Town of Darien committed $100,000. The Land Trust of Darien and the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization, launched the project to conserve the property last January.

“Although the environment for charitable giving has not been as favorable as we had anticipated, we are pleased with the support from the neighborhood and the community at large” said Bruce Orr, Capital Campaign Co-Chair for the Land Trust of Darien. ” We are confident that we can reach our final goal in the next 60 days with some anticipated significant contributions and with a Town-wide mail campaign planned for early next month. We hope the Town-wide campaign will demonstrate the community’s commitment to open space in Darien”.

“The Campaign for Mather Meadows has cleared a major hurdle by raising $1.4 million,” said Alicia Betty, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “We have been delighted by the response to the campaign and are grateful to the many donors who have given so generously to help protect this land. We still have $1.35 million to raise and will be working hard to reach our goal by October 31, 2002, our fundraising deadline.”

To help bring the campaign across the finish line, on October 19, 2002, The Land Trust of Darien and TPL will host an invitation only Art Auction featuring “plein air” paintings of the Mather Meadows. Paintings will be offered by many area artists, including; Sandra Farley Aldrich, Gayle Asher, Helen Cantrell, Amy Danielson, David A. Dunlop, Hanneke Goedkoop, Nicholas Halko, Fran Henry-Meehan, C.J. Guerin, Wolf Kahn, Lori Lowerstein, Charles Reid, Chet Sauer, Nancy McTague-Stock, Jane Sutherland, Jean Walworth, and Michael H. Zack. For more information about the auction, contact Lynne Brooks at (203) 961-9671.

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-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.