We Find Our roots in connected, resilient landscapes
It’s a big idea—that we can reconnect the woodlands, fields, and wetlands of a vast wildlife corridor that passes through the heart of the Housatonic River Valley from the Hudson Valley to the forests of Canada. It brings together conservation partners in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont at an unprecedented scale. Together, we can realize a shared vision that connects us to the places we love and the wildlife we share this land with.
-In 2016, the Housatonic Valley Association’s strategic plan prioritized protecting and connecting habitat. Informed by The Nature Conservancy’s resiliency data, staff at HVA realized that the most resilient areas were the Northeast’s forested uplands. HVA set to work laying plans for Follow the Forest in close collaboration with partners in the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative. Our vision of a connected landscape extended far beyond the Housatonic watershed and encompassed lands stretching from the Hudson River to the forests of Canada.
-Follow the Forest officially received its name in 2018. The concept was first presented by HVA staff at the Appalachian Trail Landscape Partnership’s annual meeting in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
-In March 2018, the Follow the Forest story map was created and displayed at the Connecticut Land Conservation Council’s annual meeting. We shared our vision at other RCP meetings as a unifying theme tying together cross-boundary efforts and helping to set focal areas for conservation.
-In 2020, the Follow the Forest vision was bolstered by significant grants from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation and the Wild East Action Fund, with important donations from Lou and Elaine Hecht.
-In 2020, the Follow the Forest map and concept made it into the CT Governor’s GC3 (Council on Climate Change) recommendations.
-In order to implement our collaborative land conservation projects, we established a Follow the Forest task force.