On Thursday, October 20, over 150 guests attended Saratoga PLAN’s first PLAN for the Future event. The inaugural event took place at the beautiful Juniper Springs Event Barn in Corinth, showcasing the southern Palmertown Range with peak foliage as the sun set over the southern foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Over $100,000 dollars was raised, supporting Saratoga PLAN’s ongoing land conservation and stewardship efforts across Saratoga County.
PLAN’s new Executive Director, Rob Davies, warmly welcomed guests to the venue and shared his story about his transitioned earlier this year from the DEC State Forester for 22 years, to working in nonprofit land conservation in the Saratoga Region. He commented on the shift he has seen in the conservation field, “The future of conservation today is protecting family farms and wood lots in our communities across the state. It is protecting those special open spaces in our backyards where we live, work, and play every day that form the character and quality of life of our communities that are under so much pressure today.”
Individuals who have made a large effort in protecting those very same areas in Saratoga County by donating land to Saratoga PLAN in 2022 are aptly named Conservation Heroes. Five heroes were celebrated at the PLAN for the Future event, including father and son, Paul and Brett Bolesh who conserved their 50 acre farm in Northumberland with Saratoga PLAN earlier this year.
In a video played at the event, Paul Bolesh spoke of the disconnect between children and land and how his grandchildren learn where food comes from by helping on their family farm. “Saratoga PLAN’s mission impacts not only the world that we all know and love, but the world that our children and future generations will steward. I believe that supporting land conservation means investing in the future, and I am proud to see our community come together to champion and elevate this critical work.” said Saratoga PLAN board member, Jessica Schwartzman
The event also honored two Conservation Champions, individuals recognized for their dedication and extraordinary contributions to conservation during their lifetime: Tim Barnett, former Executive Director of the Adirondack Chapter for the Nature Conservancy and former Saratoga PLAN emeritus board member and beloved Phyllis Aldrich, former PLAN board member and mother of Will Aldrich, landowner of Tupelo Community Forest.
Will Aldrich ended his video speaking of his mom’s contributions to the community and to himself with a call-to-action, “Now is a very important moment to get involved in the cause of protecting these beautiful open spaces in our county. As part of PLAN for the Future, I hope that each of you find a way to lean in generously and to give of your time, talent and your treasure to Saratoga PLAN to help sustain this mission and carry it forward.” These heartfelt remarks segued into a successful paddle raise led by auctioneer Tom Stebbins which raised funds for the organization’s ongoing conservation efforts and stewardship of lands throughout Saratoga County.
Bolesh Conservation Hero Video: https://youtu.be/E3ex3K-WxLs
Conservation Champion Tim Barnett Video: https://youtu.be/fIkPsHlJItQ
Conservation Champion Phyllis Aldrich: https://youtu.be/r5_qYFEF8lY
About Saratoga PLAN:
Saratoga PLAN [Preserving Land and Nature] is a nonprofit land trust that preserves the rural character, natural habitats and scenic beauty of Saratoga County so that these irreplaceable assets are accessible to all and survive for future generations.
PLAN has helped conserve over 7,000 acres of land in Saratoga County. PLAN helps landowners conserve farmland, woodlands and natural habitats, and connects people to nature through an extensive trail network, including 12 public nature preserves open for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and nature study. Saratoga PLAN helps communities create plans that balance growth with conservation to sustain the Saratoga Region as a great place to live, work, visit, play and farm. PLAN facilitates community-based conservation by partnering with municipalities to help them accomplish their community’s conservation goals.
For more information call 518-587-554 or visit saratogaplan.org
Photo at top: Saratoga PLAN’s Inaugural PLAN for the Future Event. Photo provided by Anna Gómez Domenech, Saratoga PLAN Communications Manager.