Genesee Valley Conservancy Earns National Recognition

Genesee Valley Conservancy Earns National Recognition

iFebruary 22, 2017

Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence

At a time of political change, one thing is clear and consistent: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1990, Genesee Valley Conservancy has been doing just that for the people of the Genesee Valley. Now Genesee Valley Conservancy announced it has renewed its land trust accreditation – proving once again that, as part of a network of only 372 accredited land trusts across the nation, it is committed to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in its conservation work.

“The Genesee Valley is an area with a rich history, a very diverse land base, and a promising future,” said Benjamin Gajewski, Executive Director.  “Achieving renewal of our National Accreditation demonstrates to the public that we seek out independent oversight of our work, that we continue to meet the highest standards for land conservation, and the community is positioned to continue protecting the important habitats and working lands in the region for the benefit of generations to come.”

Genesee Valley Conservancy had to provide extensive documentation and undergo a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation renewal. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded the renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that Genesee Valley Conservancy’s lands will be protected forever.

Accredited land trusts must renew every five years, confirming their compliance with national quality standards and providing continued assurance to donors and landowners of their commitment to forever steward their land and easements.  Almost 20 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.

In January, the Conservancy announced it had met and surpassed its goal to create a Stewardship Endowment to ensure the organization has permanent funding to cover the permanent costs of protecting land.  The endowment supports annual monitoring of protected properties, legal defense should conservation projects be threatened, and maintenance of public access nature preserves.  The effort to build the endowment was a strong indication to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission that the Board is being proactive to ensure the continued strength of the organization.

“It is exciting to recognize Genesee Valley Conservancy 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 Genesee Valley Conservancy has demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

Genesee Valley Conservancy 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 more than 77% 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 accredited.
Furthermore, accreditation has increased the public’s trust in land conservation, which has helped 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.