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The Nature Conservancy Added to List of Accredited Land Trusts

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Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust/Photo by Jym St. Pierre

(August 29, 2012 | Saratoga Springs, NY) – The Nature Conservancy and 22 additional organizations were awarded the national distinction of land trust accreditation. The awards were announced today by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.

“This round of accreditation decisions represents a significant milestone for the accreditation program; the 181 accredited land trusts account for more than 41% of all privately conserved land,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that land trusts meet high standards for quality and that their conservation work is permanent.”

Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form land trusts to save the places they care about. These groups have conserved over 47 million acres of land. Conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water, safe food, scenic vistas, wildlife habitat and places for people to enjoy nature.

“This round of award decisions is especially important as it shows that organizations large and small can earn the distinction of accreditation as well as the public’s trust,” noted Alliance President Rand Wentworth. “From The Nature Conservancy to local groups such as Chippewa Watershed Conservancy in Michigan and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust in Maine, land trusts play an important role in protecting the special places people love.”

“We are proud to be working with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and to have earned the distinction of being accredited,” said Nature Conservancy President and CEO Mark Tercek.  “For all land trusts, accreditation sends a powerful message that our organizations strive to achieve the highest standards and that our work will endure for generation to come.”

John Mitchell, the president of the volunteer board of the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy in Michigan, is proud of his organization’s accomplishment and said, “Accreditation helps back up our promise to landowners that we will be here to protect their property long after they are gone.”

Brad Babson is the volunteer president of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) in Maine. He noted, “Accreditation is a great step for BTLT and the communities we serve. It signifies how we have grown professionally and is a testament to the dedication of our staff, board, and volunteers in advancing BTLT's mission and stewarding our precious natural resources.”

Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Van Ryn. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”

Accredited land trusts span the country from Alaska to Florida. What all have in common is a proven commitment to meeting national standards for excellence, upholding the public trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent.“

Over the last 30 years the land trust movement has revolutionized conservation across America,” said Mark Burget, Executive Vice President and North America Managing Director with The Nature Conservancy. “Land trusts empower landowners to keep the nation’s natural systems healthy and productive for future generations. The Nature Conservancy is proud to be part of this community and proud to receive this accreditation.”

Land Trusts Accredited August 2012
The Commission recently announced the accreditation of 23 land trusts. These groups bring the total number of accredited land trusts to 181, accounting for more than 41% of all privately conserved land. See the complete list of accredited land trusts.

About The Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. More information is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

About The Land Trust Alliance
The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats. 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the Alliance. The Alliance publishes Land Trust Standards and Practices and provides financial and administrative support to the Commission. It has established an endowment to help ensure the success of the accreditation program and keep it affordable for land trusts of all sizes to participate in accreditation. More information can be found at www.landtrustalliance.org.

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