Bainbridge Land Trust celebrates 20 years of conservation

The Bainbridge Island Land Trust, an organization that has helped preserve over 400 acres, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an event featuring award-winning nature writer Robert Michael Pyle on Friday.

Pyle won a 2007 National Outdoor Book Award for “Sky Time in Gray’s River,” a reflection on the flora, fauna and people of a small community in southwest Washington.

The land trust event will also honor island resident Charles Schmid with the Phyllis Young Award for his decades of commitment to environmental protection. Schmid has worked to clean-up the former Wyckoff creosote treatment facility on Eagle Harbor, establish trails and lead the Association of Bainbridge Communities for many years.

Established by a small group of islanders in 1989 to help landowners permanently protect the natural character of their properties, the land trust has helped acquire and preserve over 400 acres of forest, wetland and shore. The trust owns 41 acres and has established 44 conservation easements linking protected areas.

The land trust’s first preserved property was Willowbrook Farm, at the corner of Highway 305 and Day Road. Slated to become a golf driving range, the land trust worked to acquire the land, sell it to a conservation-minded buyer and place an easement on it that protected the rolling meadow visible to highway drivers.

The second property preserved by the land trust was a portion of Battle Point Spit owned by resident Phyllis Young. She enlisted the land trust to help her protect the property’s marine estuary and shellfish habitat. Young’s commitment to conservation inspired the land trust to name an annual award after her.

The land trust event begins at 5:30 p.m. at St. Cecilia’s Parish, 1310 Madison Avenue. The event also includes a potluck dinner and silent auction benefiting the land trust. Admission is free. To learn more, visit www.bi-landtrust.org.

Photo: December at Gazzam Lake Park, another property preserved with the help of the land trust.