Greenprint Partner Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust Receives Accreditation
Monday, August 10, 2015
On August 5th, Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust was awarded land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
Accreditation is a rigourous, independent review of a land trust’s operating practices. The seal of accreditation is awarded to those organizations that meet or exceed national quality standards in the field of land conservation. Weantinoge is one of just 317 land trusts accross the country to have received Accreditation since the program began in 2008.
“After many years of hard work and growth as an organization, we are delighted to join the strong network of accredited land trusts in Connecticut and across the country,” said Catherine Rawson, Weantinoge's Executive Director.
Half of Connecticut's 14 accreditated land trusts are members of the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative. Weantinoge now joins Kent Land Trust, Connecticut Farmland Trust, Norfolk Land Trust, HVA, Sharon Land Trust and Warren Land Trust as one of seven accredited Greenprint members. Several other Greenprint member land trusts, including Cornwall Conservation Trust, Flanders Nature Center and Land Trust, and Steep Rock Association, are registered in upcoming accreditation rounds, while others are preparing to apply.
“This round of accreditation decisions represents another significant milestone for the accreditation program; the 317 accredited land trusts account for more than three quarters of the 20,645,165 acres currently owned in fee or protected by a conservation easement held by a land trust,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “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 Ms. Van Ryn. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”
“Land trusts are unique in the nonprofit world because they need to plan for their organizations to exist in perpetuity. Accreditation is the single most important action a land trust can take to help keep their promise of conserving land forever,” said Ms. Rawson.
“For an organization of Weantinoge’s size—we are the 18th largest land trust in the United States by the number of lands we conserve—the accreditation process takes years to complete and reflects substantial investments in stewardship, staff, and technology. Accreditation also demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits all of Northwest Connecticut,” continued Ms. Rawson.