Check into any hotel in Connecticut and look around the front desk or the gift shop, and you’ll see postcards with pictures familiar to all “Nutmeggers” – the ones that let Connecticut residents know they’re home. They often show scenic vistas filled with assorted shades of yellow, gold, and red of trees during fall – a paradise for the “Leaf Peeper.”
But it isn’t only about beauty. The residents of Connecticut depend on the state’s woodlands every day to build and heat homes, take hikes, observe wildlife and breathe air. We need the goods, service, and protection trees provide.
The NRCS in Connecticut, Forest Service, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System entered into a partnership in 2009 to assist private landowners in enhancing healthy forests.
Recently, this group was honored with the prestigious Two Chiefs’ Partnership Award on behalf of the chiefs of the Forest Service and NRCS. The awards honor groups and individuals for outstanding efforts in conservation and forest stewardship.
NRCS and Forest Service were recognized for their participation in the group’s efforts to help private landowners improve working forests through conservation practices. The group successfully increased private landowner awareness and use of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, a Farm Bill conservation program administered by NRCS for forest management plans, forest health treatments, tree plantings and reforestation activities.
Additionally, the group completed five NRCS contribution agreements with Resource Conservation and Development Councils, the DEEP Wildlife Division and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. These agreements promoted woodland and wildlife management and established a Strategic Watershed Action Team that supported outreach, education, forest mapping and natural resource inventories.
The group also increased the number of private businesses that are NRCS forestry-qualified technical service providers who make direct, on-the-ground improvements. Technical service providers are individuals or businesses that have technical expertise in conservation planning and design for a variety of conservation activities.
The group will continue its efforts, working with landowners to ensure the state’s forests stay healthy and viable.