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23 Additional Land Trusts Achieve Accreditation

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Photo by Karen Nichols, courtesy of Flathead Land Trust

(July 31, 2013 | Saratoga Springs, NY) – Twenty-three 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.

“Accredited land trusts account for 52% 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.”

“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.

“We are proud that we have been able to earn the distinction of the accreditation seal; it is a testament to the quality of the organization and the work that we do,” stated Reed Hughes, board member of the Northcoast Regional Land Trust. “Any time that you are dealing with things in perpetuity the organization has to be strong. This is an affirmation of what we have been able to put into place for the duration.”

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 capable citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.” 

“We applaud the Alliance for establishing the voluntary accreditation standards,” said Jane Difley, president and forester of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “The accreditation process has made the Forest Society better at what we do. Accreditation is an important symbol of everyone in the land trust community taking responsibility to voluntarily meet the standards in order to promote the integrity of our mission. It will only strengthen the trust our donors and supporters have in us.”

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.

Terry Corwin, executive director of the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, remarked, “Trustworthiness is our stock in trade. We are gratified and delighted to have the Land Trust Accreditation Commission recognize our high standards of practice in the conservation and management of our lands and in how we conduct our business. For our donors, funders and community members at large, we hope this acknowledgment reinforces the notion that confidence in your local land trust is well deserved!”

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 their conservation efforts are permanent.

Land Trusts Accredited July 2013
The Commission recently announced the accreditation of 23 land trusts. These groups bring the total number of accredited land trusts to 229, accounting for 52% 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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