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Twenty-one Additional Land Trusts Achieve Accreditation

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Truckee Donner Land Trust; Lacey Meadows/©ElizabethCarmel.com

201 Accredited Land Trusts Nationwide

(February 19, 2013 | Saratoga Springs, NY) – Twenty-one additional organizations were awarded the national distinction of land trust accreditation, making a total of 201 land trusts nationwide. The awards were announced today by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. (A list of the newly accredited organizations follows this release.)

“This round of accreditation decisions represents another significant milestone for the accreditation program; the 201 accredited land trusts account for half of the 20,645,165 acres currently owned in fee or protected by a conservation easement held by a land trust,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that accredited land trusts meet high standards for quality and that the results of their conservation work are permanent.”

Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form more than 1,700 land trusts to save the places they love. Community leaders in land trusts throughout the country have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about, including land transferred to public agencies and protected via other means. Conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water, safe food, scenic vistas, wildlife habitat and places for people to enjoy nature.“

Land trusts are gaining higher profiles with their work on behalf of citizens and the seal of accreditation is a way to prove to their communities that land trusts are worthy of the significant public and private investment in land conservation,” noted Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth.

Sudbury Valley Trustees executive director Ron McAdow said, “The process of seeking accreditation helped Sudbury Valley Trustees refine its practices. Our attainment of accreditation will assure future partners and potential partners of SVT’s professionalism and reliability. I believe that both the process and this new status will make us more effective in achieving our conservation mission.”

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 and Maine to Arizona. 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.

Gay Mills, executive director of the Genesee Land Trust (NY), provided a statement that reflects a common sentiment of other newly accredited land trusts: “Genesee Land Trust is thrilled to be accredited. We have worked tirelessly to carefully and patiently protect woods, waterways, and family farms and have created green spaces in the inner city of Rochester. Accreditation is an achievement we worked hard on for years and it validates our organization, which includes a small professional staff and a large cadre of incredible volunteers. We are so proud and happy!”

Land Trusts Accredited February 2013
The Commission recently announced the accreditation of 21 land trusts. These groups bring the total number of accredited land trusts to 201, accounting for 50% 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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