August 14, 2015
“This achievement demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community,” says Caitrin Maloney, Executive Director. "While Stowe Land Trust has established itself as a leader in local land protection, we are stronger today having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process."
Stowe Land Trust is a member-supported, non-profit land conservation organization dedicated to the conservation of scenic, recreational, and productive farm and forest lands for the benefit of the greater Stowe community. Established in 1987, SLT has permanently protected nearly 3,500 acres of land in the greater Stowe area. SLT stewards protected properties to ensure they are managed to protect their conservation values. SLT also works to cultivate the next generation of conservationists, provide learning opportunities to inspire local citizens to engage with their natural world, and foster a life-long love and appreciation of the land.
Stowe Land Trust was first awarded accreditation in March 2010 after undergoing an extensive 2-year long external review of its governance, management policies and systems it uses to protect land. SLT was awarded renewed accreditation this February and is one of 317 land trusts from across the country that are now accredited. 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.
“Stowe Land Trust is one of the first land trusts to achieve renewed accreditation, a significant achievement for the land trust and significant major milestone for the accreditation program. They are an important member of the accredited land trust community that protects 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 renewal, which must be completed every five years, provides the public with an assurance that accredited land trusts continue to meet exceedingly high standards for quality.”
Each land trust that achieved renewed accreditation submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation renewal land trusts are part of an important evaluation and improvement process that verifies their operations continue to be effective, strategic and in accordance with strict requirements,” said Van Ryn. “Accredited organizations have engaged 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 near greenbelts, 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 Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, NY, is governed by a volunteer Board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. The Alliance, of which Stowe Land Trust is a member, is a national conservation group based in Washington, D.C. that works to strengthen conservation throughout America.