A productive and satisfying year was celebrated recently by the Kent Land Trust.

About 150 guests gathered in style Sept. 8 at the trust's annual fall benefit cocktail party amid clear skies and beautiful surroundings at DogWood Farm, the north Kent home of hosts Diane Meier and Frank Delaney.

Guests strolled the courtyard and grounds with distant views toward the Catskills and enjoyed the two converted barns, one of which includes studios for both Ms. Meier and Irish novelist Mr. Delaney.

In welcoming guests, Mr. Delaney described the couple's work on the estate as "a work-in-progress, very much like that of the land trust."

He praised the land trust both for its protection of the southern gateway's rural approach to Kent and for its continuing restoration of the gateway's fields and hedgerows.

Nancy Kissinger served for the second year as the event's honorary chairwoman.

She commended the land trust's work to create healthy habitat for declining songbirds.

"Thanks to the Kent Land Trust, we have six bluebird nest boxes and now we are trying to entice Purple Martins to take up residence in our new martin house," Mrs. Kissinger said.

Her words struck a chord with many in Kent who follow land trust director Laurie Doss's efforts to support and expand Connecticut's only inland colonies of this at-risk species.

Board president Bill Arnold thanked those in attendance for their ongoing support of the land trust's mission and programs.

"We simply could not accomplish this great work without the generous support we enjoy from this community," he said.

Reporting on the year's highlights, Mr. Arnold emphasized the land trust's continued sponsorship of Marble Valley Farm, "a true treasure," and called Megan Haney "the face of the land trust" for many in Kent.

"We couldn't be happier about that," Mr. Arnold said.

He also reported on the trust's collaboration with other area land trusts, working to build on its achievement as the second Connecticut land trust to be awarded national accreditation.

"We believe collaboration supports all of us and makes us more effective," he remarked.

Mr. Arnold announced that the trust would be acquiring Camp Francis, the 250-acre Girl Scout camp in Kent and Warren.

The Trust has an agreement to purchase the property for $1.5 million and is kicking off its campaign to raise the necessary funds.

To supplement anticipated grants from state and federal conservation programs, "we expect we will need to raise over $600,000 from public contributions," Mr. Arnold explained.

For more information or to contribute to the Campaign for Camp Francis, call Executive Director Connie Manes at 860-488-9185 or info@kentlandtrust.org.