The Western New York Land Conservancy has achieved land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
“The Land Conservancy’s accreditation demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community,” says Nancy Smith, executive director. “Many people have helped shape the organization over the past decades. Our land trust is a stronger organization today having gone through this rigorous accreditation program.”
The Land Conservancy was founded in 1991 and works in the eight counties of Western New York. The Land Conservancy currently protects over 6,000 acres of open space, forests, wetlands and working farms in the region. The Land Conservancy’s most recent success was the purchase of the Stella Niagara Preserve on the Niagara River along Lower River Road in the Town of Lewiston, just north of Niagara Falls. With 29 acres and over a quarter-mile of shoreline, it is the largest privately owned, undeveloped tract of land along the entire length of the Niagara River. The property is incredibly scenic, and is one of our region’s most ecologically and historically important places.
The Land Conservancy was awarded accreditation this August and is one of 317 land trusts from across the country that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.
“This round of accreditation decisions represents another significant milestone for the accreditation program; the 317 accredited land trusts account for more than three quarters 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, at the time of accreditation, land trusts meet high standards for quality and that the results of their conservation work are permanent.”
In order to become accredited, a land trust must submit extensive documentation and undergo 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.”
According to the Land Trust Alliance, conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water; safe, healthy food; scenic landscapes and views; recreational places; and habitat for the diversity of life on earth. In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water filtration facilities. 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. Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of their critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.
“The Western New York Land Conservancy is honored to be counted among the 317 Accredited Land Trusts in the nation,” said Land Conservancy Board President Larry Brooks. “This achievement embodies our organization’s dedication to excellence in land conservation, stewardship and management. Being accredited will help us continue to grow and expand our impact throughout the region.”
About the Western New York Land Conservancy
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that has helped protect more than 6,000 acres of land with significant conservation values in Western New York, for the benefit of future generations. We envision a future in which natural areas, farmlands, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. The organization is one of 1,700 land trusts nationwide, including 90 in New York State, which have protected 40 million acres over the last 20 years. For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities or the mission of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call (716) 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 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. See a complete list of all recently accredited land trusts online at http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/land-trust-locator. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About The Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,200 member land trusts supported by more than five million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.