The Trustees & MA Land Trust Coalition Co-Sponsor 17th MA Land Conservation Conference

Contact Information
Kristi Perry
Manager of Public Relations
781.784.0567 x7003
kperry@ttor.org

Andrea Freeman
Putnam Conservation Institute Director
Doyle Conservation Center
Phone: 978.840.4446 x1929
afreeman@ttor.org
Leominster, MA – We all have favorite places that inspire us and chances are most of them are outside – quiet woods for walking, a wide open beach for relaxing, a convenient park for a lunch. Maybe it’s a familiar drive past farm fields or a bike ride along a river that brings a rush of emotion that says, “Hey, life is good.”

Now try to imagine not having the places that create those feelings. We reject that possibility – as do the 350+ people who will participate in the 17th Annual Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference on March 24, 2007, at the Bancroft School in Worcester. Without the hard work necessary to conserve land for the public, our favorite – and the feelings they trigger – all too frequently disappear. The amount of undeveloped land is shrinking in Massachusetts at an alarming rate and public funding is not keeping up with the pace. Collectively, however, we can improve our quality of life, preserve the environment and respect the community character that makes our state and our communities so appealing.

Designed to inform, connect and inspire leaders and members from organizations such as land trusts, state and federal agencies, foundations, municipal commissions, parks departments, and more, this annual conference provides a forum for land conservationists (from newcomers to highly experienced veterans) to learn from each others' successes and to discuss emerging challenges.

Ian Bowles, MA Secretary of the Office of Environmental Affairs, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s conference. Secretary Bowles was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to head this critically important state agency that includes the Division of Conservation Services, the Office of Coastal Zone Management, and the Departments of Conservation & Recreation, Fish & Game, Environmental Protection, and Agricultural Resources.

“From creating new urban parks to protecting land that safeguards our water supply, grows our food, and harbors our remarkable biodiversity, sound stewardship of the Commonwealth’s diverse land resources is a cornerstone of my office and a priority for the Patrick administration,” Secretary of Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles said. “We look forward to working with the Massachusetts land trust community – the nation's oldest and strongest network of land trusts – to find innovative ways to expand on our past success.”

Other featured speakers include Wesley Ward, Vice President for Land Conservation for The Trustees of Reservations; Bob Wilber, Director of Land Protection for Mass Audubon and the 2007 Chair of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition; and Russell Shay, Director of Public Policy for the Land Trust Alliance – a national nonprofit organization located in Washington, DC.

This year’s conference offers 32 workshops over the course of the day. Titles include: Land Conservation, Agriculture & Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Communities; Protecting Trail Lands; Maximizing the Benefits of the Community Preservation Act; and Prioritizing Land to Conserve in Urban Areas: EOEEA’s “Five Cities Project.”

This year’s Conference Program Committee includes leaders from the Fields Pond Foundation, Hilltown Land Trust, Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, Massachusetts Division of Conservation Services, Mass Audubon, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, The Trustees of Reservations, and the Waterside Consulting Group.

For a full schedule of presentations and speakers, please contact Angel Vega (978.840.4446 x1934; avega@ttor.org) or visit us online at www.TheTrustees.org/PutnamConservationInstitute.cfm. Free media passes are available.

About The Trustees of Reservations
Founded in 1891, The Trustees of Reservations are the nation’s oldest regional land trust and nonprofit conservation organization. Supported by more than 40,000 individual and family members, The Trustees protect Massachusetts' natural and historic resources for everyone to enjoy. From working farms to historic homesteads, barrier beaches to mountain vistas, The Trustees own and manage nearly 25,000 acres on 96 reservations in 70 communities across Massachusetts – all open to the public. Trustees’ properties include four National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, and seven properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Trustees hold perpetual conservation restrictions on nearly 16,000 acres – more than any other conservation organization in Massachusetts – permanently protecting scenic and natural areas from development. The Trustees have also assisted in the protection of nearly 16,000 additional acres.

The Trustees employ 150 full-time and 400 seasonal staff with expertise in many areas, including ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out how you can interview Trustees' experts on important topics and issues, volunteer, donate, become a member or learn more about our properties and programs for all ages, please call The Trustees of Reservations at 781.784.0567, visit our website at www.thetrustees.org, or email us at membership@ttor.org.

About The Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition (MLTC)
MLTC is the association of nearly 150 organizations dedicated to increasing the conservation impact of Massachusetts land trusts. The coalition plays a crucial role in advancing key conservation legislation, improving communication and collaboration with state environmental agencies, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information, and serving as an important networking resource for the state's land trust community. MLTC welcomes land trusts to join the coalition; meetings are held quarterly. Visit our website at www.massland.org.