The Genesee Valley Conservancy serves a rural region of western New York, a landscape that is rich in fertile soils and abundant wildlife habitat in the watershed of the Genesee River.
The organization was founded in 1990 by members of the equestrian community who shared a collective passion for seeing the beautiful Geneseo countryside remain undeveloped. These dedicated volunteers came together to form a not-for-profit organization run by a board of directors. With the support of individual landowners and the community, the Genesee Valley Conservancy flourished, protecting 1,000 acres in its first year and an additional 2,500 acres in its first five years.
With the demand for conservation continuing to grow, the Genesee Valley Conservancy hired its first executive director in 1997.
Originally formed to protect open space for equestrian pursuits, the Genesee Valley Conservancy expanded its focus through several strategic planning processes throughout the years. These processes, meant to focus the organization’s goals to better serve the community, led to the prioritization of the conservation of farmland, wildlife habitat, and open space in the Genesee River watershed within Livingston, Wyoming, Allegany and Ontario counties. Additionally, the organization began an increased focus on providing public access to the land’s resources through ownership of nature preserves and the facilitation of educational opportunities.
In 2010, Genesee Valley Conservancy became one of the first land trusts in New York State to receive accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. This distinction is granted to land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure their conservation efforts are permanent.
With community support and involvement, Genesee Valley Conservancy has transformed from a small group of passionate volunteers into a staffed organization that reaches across all segments of the community, from recreationalists, to agriculture producers, to naturalists. The commitment of such a diverse mix of people has fueled the success of the organization and helped to protect over 17,800 acres.