CLEAR’s Geospatial Training Program (GTP) has partnered with the Connecticut Land Conservation Council to develop a new course for land trust staff and volunteers. The first workshop was held on a sunny Friday in September. The one-day course is designed to teach participants how to use a handheld GPS receiver to map property boundaries and specific locations that can be monitored annually to determine and record compliance with easement restrictions. The course has also proved to be popular with land trusts looking to map trails on their properties.
The hand-on field portion of the training takes place on the Haddam Land Trust’s Bamforth Wildlife Preserve, located just a mile from CLEAR’s headquarters. While walking the property, participants learn how to map property boundaries, trails, and points of interest including hypothetical violations, survey markers, invasive species, and scenic viewpoints. Field photographs are also collected to be used in monitoring reports and mapping products. Later, back in the classroom, participants learn how to download their GPS data and create interactive, online maps using free software including DNRGPS and ArcGIS Online. By the end of the workshop, they will have created their own custom online map that can be shared within their organization or published on their land trust website. The GTP has published a map gallery on the CLEAR website that links to the interactive maps created and shared by the course participants.
CLEAR will be offering this course again in the spring. A detailed description of the course is available on the GTP webpage along with other course offerings, descriptions and registration information. In addition, CLEAR hopes to partner with the Connecticut Land Conservation Council again in the future to offer a series of workshops for Connecticut’s land trust members focused on best practices in land stewardship.