Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, Northwest Connecticut’s regional land trust and the largest land trust in the state, recently held its 13th annual Midsummer Party for Conservation.

The Aug. 10 event was hosted by Leni and Peter May at their home Maywood in Bridgewater.

Almost 200 guests joined in the celebration, which included locally sourced meat from Stuart Family Farm in Bridgewater and vegetables and wine grown at Maywood.

With panoramic views of the Connecticut Highlands as a backdrop, Board President Hiram Williams of South Kent opened the evening with a heartfelt thank you to all the guests that made this year’s event the most successful to date.

“Weantinoge’s continued growth and increasing capacity for conservation can be attributed to its loyal members,” Williams said. “This year’s benefit raised a record $650,000 to fund land and water conservation, and environmental education programs throughout Litchfield and northern Fairfield Counties.”

Weantinoge permanently protects over 10,300 acres of land, 42 miles of rivers and streams, 3,000 acres of habitat for rare, endangered, and threatened species, and 29 working farms in Northwest Connecticut.

“We continue to see strong growth, protecting on average seven new conservation properties each year,” said Executive Director Catherine Rawson of Washington. “In a warming climate, the work of safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem health through land and water conservation has never been more important.”

Kirsten Peckerman of Washington, vice president of Weantinoge’s Board of Directors, was honored for her 10 years of service to the organization and dedication to protecting the natural treasures of Northwest Connecticut.

Bud Wright, a farmer and resident of Bridgewater since 1972, was also honored for permanently protecting two farms with Weantinoge.

“People pull over all the time to look at the cows and tell me what a good job we’re doing,” said Wright of protecting the farmland that is dear to him. “Everyone says they would rather see the farm remain active and well-cared for than ten more houses. It’s just good for the community.”

In addition to its land acquisition and stewardship programs, Weantinoge provides free educational and recreational programming to more than 2,000 children and families annually.

These programs include guided hikes, lectures, monthly Green Drinks, and its Fall Celebration at the Smyrski Farm in New Milford.

For additional information, call 860-927-1927, email catherine@weantinoge.org or visit www.weantinoge.org.