With protected residential property as the backdrop, the Wilton Conservation Land Trust last week announced 13 acres will be protected from future development through a conservation easement executed by the owners. John and Roy Levin, sons of the late Alice Levin, who died in 2015, created the easement on their mother\u2019s 12.9-acre home. \u201cWe wanted to preserve it because that was the property Alice loved,\u201d land trust vice president Craig Johnson said during a brief announcement at his home, which is also protected. Of the easement, land trust executive director Donna Merrill said, \u201cWe are pulling together a vision for the future.\u201d With a patchwork of land all over town, she said the land trust is creating \u201ccorridors of connectivity\u201d to benefit people and wildlife. \u201cThis is really a bookend for me,\u201d John Levin said. He told gathered guests that after the process was started he and his wife Patricia Gallery visited Yellowstone National Park. He learned that any animal that wanders beyond the park\u2019s 2.2 million acres may be killed. \u201cThe boundaries we create for ourselves animals don\u2019t understand,\u201d he said. As colonies of bees and monarch butterflies collapse \u201cwe suffer the boundaries we\u2019ve created.\u201d The Levins\u2019 property will be protected as \u201cforever wild,\u201d he added. \u201cWe hope others will follow in our footsteps.\u201d That property was beloved by Alice Levin. At one time a member of the Wilton Garden Club, Deer Committee and Weir Preserve, she was passionate about the gardens surrounding her home, which were a lifelong project, according to her obituary. She was also a founding contributor to the Wilton Center Tree Plan. On the occasion of her 85th birthday in 2008, Levin\u2019s sons gave a gift of five trees in the town center. The idea of creating the easement on the Levin property was really his mother\u2019s idea, John Levin told The Bulletin, adding he and his brother effected it after she died. He wanted to make clear what the easement involves. It does not create a park or open space that people may use. It is still private, residential property. \u201cWe are taking the right to develop out the window,\u201d he said. \u201cThe conservation easement creates beautiful protected space providing habitat for wildlife.\u201d The property is complemented by open space to the north and town land just to the south, creating a wildlife corridor. While the appeal of creating a conservation easement can be a break on property taxes, Levin said he and his brother chose not to do that. Beyond a possible tax break, he said there are a number of reasons to opt for a conservation easement, one being to create a \u201cbelt\u201d of protection. \u201cIf the town is looking to certain properties to create housing,\u201d he said, \u201cthere may be others who can protect open areas around them.\u201d Land trust role The conservation easement on the Levin property is a deed restriction that is owned by the Wilton Conservation Land Trust. While the Levins own the property now, the land trust is charged with enforcing the restrictions of the easement no matter who may own the property in the future. Executive director Merrill emphasized the land trust is not part of the town government. \u201cWe\u2019re not necessarily understood as a private, charitable organization,\u201d she told The Bulletin. \u201cOne hundred percent of our funding for the care of land comes from asking people in Wilton to become members.\u201d The land trust, which owns or holds conservation easements on more than 100 parcels, offers several levels of membership from small to large donations. \u201cWe don\u2019t have big fund-raising campaigns,\u201d she said. \u201cWe are traditionally a low-key organization.\u201d The land trust is run by a volunteer board of trustees which welcomes new members and other volunteers who help primarily with trail maintenance. The trust is also in the process of forming a number of committees \u2014 land stewardship, land mapping, communications, etc. \u2014 which members who are not trustees may serve on. \u201cThe soul of our town is in its natural beauty, its thriving forests, and connectivity to the people who live, work and play here,\u201d Merrill said, adding that land preservation is all the more important now because of increased development pressures. The land the trust protects is all beneficial to the community either for the views it offers, its historic significance, or environmental benefits such as protecting clean water. \u201cWe are not an organization of owners of land that can be sold off later,\u201d Merrill emphasized. \u201cEverything given to us is protected in perpetuity.\u201d For membership or information on volunteering, visit wiltonlandtrust.org or email Donna.Merrill@wiltonlandtrust.org.