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Sharon, MA – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), the nation’s oldest and largest statewide land conservation organization, today announced they, together with their affiliate, the Massachusetts Land Conservation Trust (MLCT), were recently awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, certifies land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold public trust, and ensure that their conservation efforts are permanent with a special seal of recognition. The Trustees are the 106th land trust organization from across the country to be awarded this prestigious seal of accreditation since the fall of 2008.
During the review process, The Land Trust Accreditation Commission conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. Accreditation provides independent confirmation of the soundness of the practices of land trusts and helps lead the effort to continue to improve the operations of the land conservation community as a whole. The preparation and application process affords applicants the opportunity to review and implement policies that will help streamline their operations and lead to more effective land conservation practices.
“Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “The accreditation seal lets the public know that the accredited land trust has undergone an extensive, external review of the governance and management of its organization and the systems and policies it uses to protect land.”
Founded in 1891, The Trustees are a leader in the conservation movement and have served as a model for other land trusts, nationally and internationally. Working with hundreds of community partners to preserve open land and the character of local communities statewide, The Trustees have directly protected some of the most exceptional properties in Massachusetts for public use and enjoyment and fostered a vibrant conservation community throughout the state through public education, programming and leadership. In 2010 The Trustees launched a new program to assist local and regional land in preparation for applying for Land Trust Accreditation.
"In our nearly 120-year history, The Trustees have always strived to set and meet high standards in our role as a leader in the land trust movement. This rigorous process challenged us to set those standards even higher,” says Trustees of Reservations President Andy Kendall. “We look forward to sharing what we have learned through this process as we work with our partners to strengthen the capacity of the land conservation community in Massachusetts and beyond.”
The accreditation application process was rigorous for The Trustees, who had already been in existence for 98 years by the time the Land Trust Alliance created the first Standards and Practices in 1989. Organizing and archiving project files, some of which date back to the 19th century, required more than 5,000 hours of staff time organizing 370,000 pages of documents over four years.
“This achievement was made possible by the unwavering commitment and hard work by scores of staff and volunteers to a challenging, time-consuming process,” adds Chris Rodstrom, The Trustees’ Deputy Director of Land Community Conservation. ”We are an even stronger organization now because of the improvements we have made as a result of applying for accreditation.”
Next to its diverse and talented people, land is America’s most important and valuable resource. Conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water, food security, scenic landscapes and views, recreational places, and habitat for the diversity of life on earth. Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form land trusts to save the places they love. Community leaders in land trusts throughout the country have worked with willing landowners to save more than 37 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about. 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
More About The Land Trust Accreditation Commission and The Land Trust Alliance
Based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., The Land Trust Accreditation Commission (LTAC) awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Land Trust Alliance (LTA), of which The Trustees are a member, is a national conservation group based in Washington, D.C. that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. Established in 2006, The LTAC is an independent program of the LTA and governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org. More information on the Land Trust Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.
More About the Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees are 100,000 people like you who love the outdoors and the distinctive charms of New England, and believe in celebrating and protecting them for current and future generations. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees “hold in trust,” and care for, 103 spectacular “reservations” located on 26,000 acres in 75 communities throughout Massachusetts.
All reservations are open for the public to enjoy and range from working farms and historic homesteads – several of which are National Historic Landmarks – to formal gardens, barrier beaches, open meadows, woodland trails, mountain vistas, and a Gold LEED-certified green building in Leominster, the Doyle Center, which serves as a meeting space and gathering place for the conservation community. Of The Trustees’ 26,000 acres, 12,000 are priority habitat for 89 threatened species.
An established leader in the conservation movement, The Trustees also hold perpetual conservation restrictions on more than 19,000 additional acres (a total larger than any other conservation organization in Massachusetts), and have worked with community partners to assist in the protection of an additional 16,000 acres around the Commonwealth. The Trustees helped found the 130-member Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, provide extensive community conservation programs and support through the Putnam Conservation Institute, sponsor the Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference that draws 450 conservation professionals and volunteers annually, and will be launching UrbanParkAdvocates.org on its already established ConservationCommon.org website later this fall.
The Trustees also work to promote healthy, active, green communities around the state, by providing hundreds of year-round programs and events that inspire people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the history, nature, and culture of the Commonwealth. Most programs and events are free-of-charge or heavily discounted for members.
One of the largest non-profits in the state of Massachusetts, The Trustees employ 152 full-time, 49 regular part-time, and 400 seasonal staff with expertise in ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out how to apply for employment, request a speaker for an event, become an organizational partner, interview Trustees’ experts on important topics and issues, or become a member, please contact www.thetrustees.org.