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In the Beginning – Part 2

As related previously, the work of the Organizing Committee tasked with creating the Thames Talbot Land Trust culminated in the decision, on April 17, 1999, to proceed with incorporation.

On May 24, 2000, the Trust drew its first breath under an interim board consisting of Bernie VanDenBelt (President), Mary Kerr (Vice-President) and Bill De Young (Secretary-Treasurer).  Many of the original Organizing Committee members stayed on, serving as an Advisory Committee to the interim board.  Now the focus shifted to such areas as communications and board recruitment.  An application for charitable status was also submitted and approved.

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In The Beginning Part 1

Upon entering the Ministry of Transportation building on Exeter Road – his copy of the book Creative Conservation in hand – Bernie VanDenBelt took the elevator to the third floor.  Here, tucked in amid the offices of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), was the desk of Don Gordon, then Executive Director of Carolinian Canada.  Bernie had an important question for Don:  In his capacity with Carolinian Canada, would he be interested in assisting with the creation of a land trust for the London region?  A lot was riding on Don’s answer.

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A Land Trust Primer

A “trust” is a legal entity that takes ownership of, or authority over, a piece of property from its previous owner for the benefit of a third party.  Thames Talbot Land Trust (TTLT) is a local land trust, one of 33 in Ontario that protect more than 85,000 acres (34,398 ha) of significant land for public benefit.  Sometimes called land conservancies, nature conservancies or conservation land trusts, organizations such as TTLT are private (non-government), not-for-profit charitable organizations. They act primarily through volunteers to conserve lands of significant natural or cultural value “in perpetuity” – that is, for ever.

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