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11 Additional Land Trusts Achieve Accreditation

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Kiernan-Heron Point, Wareham Land Trust/Photo by Carleen Loper

(December 19, 2013 | Saratoga Springs, NY) – Eleven additional organizations were awarded the national distinction of land trust accreditation, bringing the total to 238 land trusts. 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.

Kevin Bartsch, Wareham Land Trust president, added: “We are pleased to receive this distinction from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.  This milestone is the culmination of years of preparation by every member of our volunteer board.  The seal of accreditation attests to the organization’s ability to successfully run an ethical and sustainable non-profit land trust.”

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 are proud of this national recognition and honored to be listed among the accredited land trusts across the country,” said Doug Parker, chief executive officer of the Land Trust of Napa County. “The two-year process we underwent was rigorous and thorough. Accreditation is a mark of distinction in land conservation and shows we conduct our work in an effective and ethical way. The seal further shows that we have the organizational and financial resources to care for our properties in perpetuity.”

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 connect with nature.

John Kramer, president of Gates Mills Land Conservancy, stated, “By displaying the accreditation seal, we affirm our commitment to preserving the woods, fields, streams and river that make our village such a special place. Preservation ensures that future generations will be able to share with us the beauty of Gates Mills.”

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 December 2013
The Commission recently announced the accreditation of 11 land trusts. These groups bring the total number of accredited land trusts to 238, 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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