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Clarification concerning Wildlife Sanctuary article


July 9, 2014
Clarification concerning the article about “Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary” dated June 26, 2014, pages 8 and 14.

“The lease does not set the stage for the Refuge to acquire any land from the Town. It merely allows the Refuge to delineate and protect a small portion of the land owned by the municipality and under the stewardship of the Conservation Commission to be afforded the protection and status as a National Wildlife Refuge; in an area where there are vague or inconclusive title descriptions. During the period of the lease, the Town and the Refuge will endeavor together to refine and define the ownership lines,” Andrew French, Project Leader, Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Facts:

• Presently, the Fannie Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary, Inc. is privately owned and governed by the Board of Trustees. All of the Trustees are members of the Allen Bird Club of Springfield and are elected by them.

• When all of the land has been surveyed, all of the legal titles are acceptable and all the work being done on the property to control invasive species in completed, the land will officially be converted to the Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge, a unit of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. It will now and will then be managed entirely under the auspices of the Silvio O. Conte staff, with help from volunteers. Our present Corporation will legally morph into the Friends of Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge and be owned by a Board of Directors, many of whom are presently members of the Board of Trustees.

• Once this takes place, Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge will cease to be a nonprofit organization.

• The land presently owned by the Fannie Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Refuge, Inc, about 330 acres is privately owned and managed by volunteers. We have never been responsible for maintaining Longmeadow Conservation lands and we have been proactive to ensure that the lands will never be a burden to the Town.

• Silvio O. Conte staff was seeking the lease that was granted from the Town of Longmeadow for the purposes of temporarily resolving boundary questions and clarifying jurisdiction to enhance public safety and security when managed as a part of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

• We have enjoyed a friendly and cooperative relationship with the Longmeadow Conservation Commission over the years and expect to continue to do so. We hope that many citizens of the Town of Longmeadow will be friends of Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Sanctuary, a unit of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge system, along the Connecticut River.

Kathryn Leary
Board of Trustees, Fannie Stebbins, etc.


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