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About Us | Our History

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Marcus Garvey


About Us/Our History

"At its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future." William Murtagh

It started as an alliance to protect the Lieutenant River. But its scope widened when it was incorporated in 1966 as the Old Lyme Conservation Trust. The original signing officers were John Lohmann, Jeanne K. Clark and Russell L. Brenneman. In 2010 its name was changed to Old Lyme Land Trust to emphasize its primary mission—the protection of land.

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John Lohmann

The Trust’s first land holding was a small parcel of salt marsh donated by Belton Copp. In 1973, William and Connie Pike donated a 44-acre parcel of secluded woodland which became the Trust’s first preserve, known as the Mile Creek Preserve. For a long time all land was acquired by donation. Many of the preserves bear the names of these very generous and foresighted donors. In 1988 the Trust bought a piece of property for the first time, saving the land from likely development. That purchase was the Elizabeth B. Karter Watch Rock Preserve.

Today the Trust owns over 1,000 acres of conservation land. We hold conservation easements permanently protecting additional acreage as well. And we have partnered with other groups—the Nature Conservancy and the Town of Old Lyme, for example—in working toward a shared goal of preserving the rural character and natural environment of  Old Lyme. Initiatives with organizations such as the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, the Scouts, the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Environmental Club, and the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library have enhanced our preserves and helped in achieving the educational component of our mission.

The Trust has played a critical role in the preservation of open space in Old Lyme. We continue to actively seek available conservation land for acquisition. The need to protect the land and water resources of Old Lyme is as urgent as ever.


Old Lyme Land Trust is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, independent of the Town of Old Lyme, and does not receive taxpayer funding. 

OLLT Officers, Trustees & Committees

OLLT has four officers who serve for terms of two years: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. The Board of Trustees is made up of the four officers and not less than three, nor more than eleven, other members. Each trustee serves a term of three years, which can be renewed for a second term. Regular Board meetings are held in the evening on the second Thursday of every other month.

Committees of the Board of Trustees:
Acquisitions, Stewardship, Outreach, Finance and Membership. Members may serve on Board committees without being trustees.

​Current Trustees:

Sabine O'Donnell - President

Karen Archer - Secretary

Ned Coffee - Treasurer

Lea Harty 

Susanne Colten-Carey

Olaf Bertram-Nothnagel - Acquisitions

Edie Twining - Chief Steward

Mary Devins - Outreach

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