April 23, 2018
USLT Earns National Recognition Which Shows a Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence
Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 2000, USLT has been doing just that for the people of the Western Piedmont of South Carolina. Now USLT announced it has achieved national recognition – joining a network of 398 accredited land trusts across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.
“Accreditation demonstrates USLT’s commitment to permanent land conservation in The Lakelands region,” said Rossie Corwon, President. “We are a stronger organization for having gone through the rigorous accreditation program. Our strength means working farms and forests, waterways, open spaces and special places will be protected forever, making this an even greater place for us and our children.”
USLThad to provide extensive documentation and undergo a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation application. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation, signifying its confidence that USLT’s lands will be protected forever. Almost 20 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.
Since its inception in 2000, USLT has grown from the first 33 acre tract to conserving 47,562 acres. And this has been done with a limited budget. Corwon stated that this has been possible by the commitment of our board, staff and membership.
The USLT board, staff and consultant spent 470 hours assessing the organization, making necessary changes to policies and procedures and completing the accreditation application. A total of $22,838 was spent on the effort. Much of the cost was paid for with a $7,500 grant from the Land Trust Alliance and a $9,000 donation from USLT supporters for accreditation expenses.
“It is exciting to recognize the Upper Savannah Land Trust with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Accredited land trusts are united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. Accreditation recognizes USLT has demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”
USLT is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the most recent National Land Trust Census, released December 1, 2016 by the Land Trust Alliance. This comprehensive report also shows that accredited land trusts have made significant achievements.
- Accredited land trusts have steadily grown and now steward almost 80% of conservation lands and easements held by all land trusts.
- Accredited land trusts protected five times more land from 2010 to 2015 than land trusts that were not yet accredited.
- Accredited land trusts also have stronger systems and more resources to steward and defend their conservation lands forever.
- As a result, the public’s trust in land conservation has increased helping to win support for federal, state and local conservation funding measures.
A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits are detailed at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement. 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. For more, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About the Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,000 member land trusts supported by more than 200,000 volunteers and 4.6 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices.
The Alliance’s leadership serves the entire land trust community—our work in the nation’s capital represents the policy priorities of land conservationists from every state; our education programs improve and empower land trusts from Maine to Alaska; and our comprehensive vision for the future of land conservation includes new partners, new programs and new priorities. Connect with us online at www.landtrustalliance.org.
Commendations from the Commission
The Upper Savannah Land Trust has made an extraordinary commitment to excellence, trust and permanence in land conservation. The Commission recognizes USLT for its board manual.
Expectations for Improvement
- Ensure that every existing and future signed baseline documentation report is a distinct document, clearly identified and segregated from other project files, that represents the condition of the property at a specific time.
- Retain an original and a duplicate of the entire distinct baseline report
- Implement a fundraising plan for the organization
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