The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, has awarded accredited status to the Upper Valley Land Trust, the regional land conservancy that serves New Hampshire and Vermontâ€™s Upper Connecticut River Valley.
â€œAccredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever,â€ said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. â€œThe 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.â€
The Upper Valley Land Trust is now one of 158 land trusts from across the country that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre explains, â€œThe land trust community has come together to create a program that ensures the work we all do will remain trusted and relevant into the future.Â Accreditation marks a land trust that has committed itself to the highest standards of protecting land and its resources for the benefit of the public, and one that has the capability of fulfilling its promises to do so in perpetuity.â€
The Upper Valley Land Trust serves 44 towns throughout the Valley in New Hampshire and Vermont.Â Since its founding in 1986, UVLT has worked with private landowners, towns, community groups, and conservation partners to permanently protect 434 properties encompassing 42,300 acres of land in the region, including working farms and forests, critical habitat and water resources, keystone scenic parcels, and favorite recreational lands and trails.
â€œThe accreditation process was certainly painstaking,â€ said McIntyre. â€œReviewing organizational archives and critical correspondence illuminated the stories of each completed project that we have done from 1986 to the present. We read about and remembered the personal connections and the history of each landownerâ€™s choice to conserve land. It has strengthened our resolve to remain dedicated to these lands, to keep building positively on these stories, and to create new ones that will take us into the future we all desire for our community.â€
Community leaders in the 1,700 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. 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. Accredited land trusts are able 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 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, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance established in 2006, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. The Alliance, of which the UVLT is 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. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commissionâ€™s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org, and information on the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.
Find out more about the Upper Valley Land Trust at www.uvlt.org including information about upcoming events, creative partnerships, and recent conservation success stories; visitors to the site will now also see the accreditation seal.Â Reflecting on UVLTâ€™s achievement, President Jeanie McIntyre said, â€œThe accreditation process required UVLT to consider how we go about the important day-to-day work involved with conserving land and take a fresh look at options for improvement.Â Sometimes we get so busy itâ€™s hard to look up, but the process encouraged us to assess, plan, and aim for the future â€“ full steam ahead!â€