WOTL Profile: Laney Wilder, Self-Described “Plant Nerd”

Laney Wilder standing next to a sugarbush tree she tapped for syrup

Almost two years ago, Laney Wilder and her husband bought a 19-acre wooded property in Brimfield, MA. When property hunting, they specifically looked for forested land with trails they could walk. They were also interested in finding land they could work to diversify and re-introduce native species. Self-described “plant nerds”, who enjoy spending their time debating botanical nomenclature over dinner, Laney and her husband were delighted to find a woodlot that they could work on restoring. 

Since Laney is the Executive Director of the Opacum Land Trust, she made sure that their very first step was to enroll their property into Chapter 61. Then, they went straight to work on improving the biodiversity and ecological health of their property. Over the last two years, Laney, who holds both a master’s degree in and a deep passion for plants and conservation, has spent many, many hours researching (which she has great fun doing), removing invasive plants, and reintroducing native species, while her husband has been working on expanding the trail system among other projects. They cleared enough space right around their house to add a garden and are currently planning their future orchard, something both Laney and her husband just can’t wait to make happen.

Laney admits that doing all the management of their property themselves can be difficult and something they will be constantly working on, however, she also notes that it’s been incredibly rewarding to see the amazing changes in their land and know their role in it.

As a new landowner, Laney was looking for ways to connect with other women and learn from their experiences owning land and heard about the Women on the Land Network. She immediately felt at home in our welcoming community and wanted to become a part of it. 

In both her professional and personal life, Laney feels passionately that it’s time to start empowering women to feel confident in making decisions about their own land. She loves that WOTL has fostered an environment where women don’t feel like it’s daunting or intimidating to make these decisions. As she can’t wait to continue making her property a home, Laney is just as excited to continue fostering connections with and between other women.