Accreditation Awarded To KELT
In February 2014, Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn said,“This round of accreditation decisions represents another significant milestone for the accreditation program; the 254 accredited land trusts account for more than half of the 20,645,165 acres currently owned in fee or protected by a conservation easement held by a land trust,”
“Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that, at the time of accreditation, land trusts meet high standards for quality and that the results of their conservation work are permanent.”
Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Van Ryn. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained 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. Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form more than 1,700 land trusts to save the places they love. 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.
“This is a definite highlight for 2014 as we celebrate our first 25 years of conservation work.” stated Jack Witham, Board President. “This achievement will help us further protect and restore the nationally significant ecological resources of the Kennebec Estuary.”
Established in 1989 the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) is committed to the conservation of the land, water, and wildlife of the Kennebec Estuary – from Merrymeeting Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. We are a community based membership organization serving the towns of Arrowsic, Bath, West Bath, Georgetown, Westport Island, Woolwich, Bowdoinham, and Dresden. Our Board of Directors are drawn from the communities we serve.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission: 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, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. See a complete list of all six recently accredited land trusts online at http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/newsroom/press-releases. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About The Land Trust Alliance: The Land Trust Alliance, of which KELT is a member, is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats. The Alliance publishes Land Trust Standards and Practices and provides financial and administrative support to the Commission. It has established an endowment to help ensure the success of the accreditation program and keep it affordable for land trusts of all sizes to participate in accreditation. More information can be found at www.landtrustalliance.org.