The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, announced this week that ClearWater Conservancy has been awarded accredited status.
“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.”
Based in State College, ClearWater Conservancy is the foremost land trust and natural resource conservation organization in central Pennsylvania. Since 1980, ClearWater has worked to improve central Pennsylvania for all through land conservation, water resource protection, and environmental outreach to the community.
“When ClearWater Conservancy first heard of the Land Trust Alliance accreditation program, we realized the importance of becoming a part of it. The two-and-a -half years we took to assess our organization and prepare our accreditation application made our organization stronger and more focused going forward. That application was 8 inches high of 8½ x 11 inch double sided sheets,” said Bill Hilshey, conservation easement manager at ClearWater and the lead staff member on the accreditation effort.
ClearWater Conservancy was awarded accreditation this month and is one of 158 land trusts from across the country awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. 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 seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.
“This distinction demonstrates ClearWater Conservancy’s proven commitment to the high standards established by the land trust community,” said Jennifer Shuey, ClearWater’s executive director. “We are very excited to share this milestone moment in our evolution with our members, partners, and the community that we serve.”
Shuey and Hilshey will attend the Land Trust Rally in Salt Lake City, Utah in the fall, where the 23 newly-accredited land trusts will be celebrated.
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 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.
Some of ClearWater’s many conservation and environmental protection achievements include:
- Conservation of nearly 5,000 acres of land in Central Pennsylvania through conservation easement, outright ownership or purchase and transfer to public ownership.
- Installation of 25,500 feet of streambank fencing and 48,000 feet of riparian buffer through our Riparian Conservation Program.
- Proper disposal of 2,738 tons of illegally dumped trash through our Watershed Cleanup Day, now in its 17th year.
- Funded thousands of elementary and middle school students in schools throughout Centre County to take outdoor field trips through our Connections programs.
More information about ClearWater Conservancy can be found at www.clearwaterconservancy.org or www.clearwaterconservancy.ning.com.
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 ClearWater Conservancy 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 Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org. More information on the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.
“We believed we were doing a good job as a land trust working with our local community, however receiving accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance and being able to display the Accreditation Seal, indicates to all a validation that our work is of a caliber worthy of national recognition. I am confident this recognition will serve to reinforce the local community’s trust in ClearWater Conservancy,” said ClearWater President Kellean Foster.