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It’s a prestigious certification, one that recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold public trust, and ensure that their conservation efforts are permanent. The Trustees are only the fourth land trust in Massachusetts – and the 106th nationwide – to receive accreditation since the commission was founded more than 20 years ago.
“Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever,” says Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. 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 accreditation application process was a rigorous one for The Trustees, who had already been in existence for nearly 100 years by the time the Land Trust Alliance created the first Standards and Practices in 1989. The massive process required The Trustees to update procedures and organize and archive project files, some of which date to the 19th century. It took more than 5,000 hours of staff time to organize 370,000 pages of documents over four years.
"In our 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,” says Trustees President Andy Kendall. “This painstaking process challenged us to set those standards even higher. 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.”