SOUTHAMPTON — Landowners will be given more opportunities to learn about their options when it comes to land conservation, thanks to a state grant.
The town was recently awarded $10,700 from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to put toward a series of conservation education events geared at landowners, according to Diana Federman, a member of the Southampton Open Space Review Committee.
Southampton residents have consistently favored preserving open space and retaining Southampton’s “rural, small-town character,” Maureen Groden, vice chairwoman of Southampton’s Select Board and a member of the Open Space Review Committee, said in a press release. “This award will match the goals of the Open Space Review Committee and will allow outreach and education to landowners in town.”
When several pieces of protected forestland were up for sale last year, some residents worried it would be developed and asked the town to use its “right to first refusal” under Chapter 61, which would allow the town to purchase the land if the owner wanted to develop it.
In July, residents voted to appropriate $785,000 to buy one of the pieces of land for sale at 111 Glendale Road. “It was a golden opportunity for the town to preserve some important land identified in the town’s (2013) Master Plan,” Town Administrator Ed Gibson told the Gazette after the vote. Roughly 90 percent of the voters present were in favor of the appropriation.
In the upcoming program, experts such as foresters and hydrogeologists will talk about Southampton’s environmental assets at one event, while attorneys and financial planners will take on topics such as estate planning in another, according the release from the Southampton Open Space Review Committee.
The events also aim to get attendees talking about land conservation with each other, Federman said. “Hopefully when people get together,” she said, “they’ll say, what did you do with your land? What are you planing to do with your land?”
The University of Massachusetts Amherst will administer the state funding and Kestrel Land Trust, an Amherst nonprofit that helps protect land throughout the Valley, will be a project partner, according to the committee’s release.
Programming is expected to start this spring, Federman said.
Greta Jochem can be rea ched at email@example.com