Archived entries for Land Trust Accreditation

Driftless Area Land Conservancy Earns National Recognition

Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence

At a time of political change, one thing is clear: Americans overwhelmingly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 2001 Driftless Area Land Conservancy (“Driftless”), one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States, has been doing just that for the people of Southwest Wisconsin.

Now Driftless is pleased to announce it has achieved national recognition, joining a network of only 372 accredited land trusts across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.

To be accredited demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation in Southwest Wisconsin,” said Mike Van Sicklen, Driftless’ board president. “Financial supporters, conservation partners and landowners should all feel comfort in the knowledge that we’re a strong, ethical and fiscally responsible organization for having gone through the rigorous accreditation program.

Driftless Executive Director, David Clutter, and his son are seen here at the 220-acre Erickson Conservation Area in Argyle Wisconsin, which is open for public enjoyment.

Driftless had 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 Driftless Area Land Conservancy’s lands will be protected forever. Over the past 16 years Driftless has conserved 42 different sites covering nearly 7,000 acres of farms, forests and natural areas, including the 220-acre Erickson Conservation Area in Argyle Wisconsin, open for public enjoyment.

Over the years Driftless has also conserved unique historic lands and resources like the Thomas Stone Barn outside of Barneveld, high quality trout streams, productive farmland, critical wildlife habitat for declining grassland birds and endangered species, old-growth woods and native remnant prairies, massive rock outcrops and geological features, and lands that provide buffer unique Wisconsin River backwaters that support threatened and engaged fish.

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

The National Land Trust Census, released December 1, 2016 by the Land Trust Alliance, shows that accredited land trusts have made significant achievements.

  • 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 Driftless Area Land Conservancy

Driftless Area Land Conservancy’s purpose is to maintain and enhance the health, diversity and beauty of Southwest Wisconsin’s natural and agricultural landscape through permanent land protection and restoration, and improve people’s lives by connecting them to the land and to each other.

A student birding on one of the properties that is protected by Driftless and free for the public to enjoy.

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. Based in Washington, D.C., and with several regional offices, the Alliance represents about 1,000 member land trusts nationwide.

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.

This blog post was copied from Driftless Area Land Conservancy’s blog

2012 Conservationist of the Year

This year, we have shared many inspiring land conservation stories from across Wisconsin.  From the largest conservation easement ever donated to a Wisconsin land trust to the patchwork of innovative partnerships protecting and restoring the natural areas in urban Milwaukee, each of these stories highlights the fact that effective and sustainable land conservation is not a one size fits all business.  Each project requires leadership to engage relevant partners, employ various methodologies, navigate unforeseen hurdles, think strategically, and remain flexible.

This year, we are honored to present Ellen Kwiatkowski with the Conservationist of the Year award for the innumerable contributions she has made to Wisconsin conservation through the embodiment of these leadership skills.  Ellen is someone who wears many hats in the conservation community.  Prior to moving to Wisconsin, Ellen worked with The Nature Conservancy for 10 years, most recently as the Director of Conservation Programs for their Delaware Chapter.  Today, Ellen resides in Bayfield where she and her husband manage an organic blueberry farm that has been protected through the Town of Bayfield’s Farmland Preservation Program.

In her professional life, Ellen has been a valuable advocate for the preservation of Wisconsin’s working lands and serves on the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) Council, the advisory body to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection on the newly created land protection program.Ellen also currently serves as a Director on Gathering Waters Conservancy’s board, as well as Chair of Wisconsin’s Land Trust Council – an advisory body comprised of land trust leaders that counsels GWC on the needs, challenges, and preferences of the Wisconsin land trust community. 

And last but certainly not least, Ellen is the Executive Director of Bayfield Regional Conservancy (BRC).  During her time at BRC the organization has protected over 1,000 acres of land in northern Wisconsin and was awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission – a distinction that recognizes land trusts that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent.

This year, under Ellen’s leadership, BRC made history when they worked with the Red Cliff Chippewa in northern Wisconsin to permanently protect the nation’s first Tribal National Park.  Stretching over ¼ mile along Lake Superior’s shoreline on the Red Cliff Reservation, Frog Bay Tribal National Park includes pristine sandy beaches bordered by primordial boreal forest identified to be of Global Significance by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and provides views of the Apostle Islands Gaylord Nelson Wilderness Area.

GWC board members Tia Nelson and Ellen Kwiatkowski tour Frog Bay Tribal National Park with Congressman Duffy and Chad Abel with the Red Cliff Tribe.

Wisconsin and its citizens are lucky to have such a talented and committed force for conservation.  Not only is Ellen making a lasting difference on Wisconsin’s landscape, but she’s also setting an incredible example for other current and future conservation leaders.  Thank you, Ellen, for all you do to protect the special places in Wisconsin!

Please join us on October 4 at the Monona Terrace in Madison when we recognize Ellen and the other winners of Gathering Waters Conservancy’s Land Conservation Leadership Awards.

GWC: A Week in the Life

As the service center for Wisconsin’s land trust community, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to travel across the state, visit its special places, and work alongside Wisconsin’s most talented and passionate conservationists.  What follows is a glimpse of a week in the life of Gathering Waters Conservancy…

GWC: Traveling across the state to strengthen Wisconsin land trusts


Working with our Regional Partners to Strengthen Conservation in the Mississippi Blufflands
Although our mission is clearly focused on Wisconsin conservation, we often find that our work here is strengthened by working with partners at the regional and even national levels.  One such example is our partnership with the Blufflands Alliance – a group of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa land trusts working together to preserve the blufflands of the Mississippi River.  We were present at their quarterly meeting in Galena, IL to explore how working together increases our collective capacity to protect more land in the blufflands. 


Introducing GWC and the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust to community leaders in Green Bay
At GWC we’re lucky to have an exemplary, committed board of directors that is always striving to advance our mission using their unique skills and connections.  One such director is Randall Lawton, from De Pere, who has stated that his goal during his service on our board is to increase support for private land conservation in northeast Wisconsin. In an effort to do just that, he hosted a breakfast reception in Green Bay to introduce his friends and colleagues to GWC and NEWLT.  In attendance were representatives from the local media, business owners, elected officials, and community leaders — all of whom now know more about their local land trust and how we’re working together to protect the special places in northeast Wisconsin.


Throwing out the First Pitch!

GWC had the unique opportunity to be the featured nonprofit at a Madison Mallards game – the popular summer collegiate baseball team.  Not only did we introduce GWC and Wisconsin land trusts to ~1,000 new people, but we also got to throw out the first pitch!

The six year old daughter of GWC Executive Director Mike Strigel throws out the first pitch.

 

Supporting our friends at the Northwoods Land Trust
The Northwoods Land Trusts’ annual meeting was held over the weekend at Minocqua Winter Park – the site of the largest ever conservation easement donated to a Wisconsin land trust.  GWC was in attendance to show our support for the land trust and its record-breaking work, as well as to meet with their staff and board to discuss our upcoming work to help NWLT prepare for Land Trust Accreditation.


Delivering Capacity-Building Services to Tall Pines Conservancy in Wisconsin’s Lake Country

A central component of our Land Trust Excellence & Advancement Program (LEAP) is working one-on-one with land trusts to assess how they meet Land Trust Standards & Practices, the legal and technical guidelines that guide land trust work.  This week our Land Trust Program Director, along with her counterpart from the Midwest office of the Land Trust Alliance, visited with the staff and board of Tall Pines Conservancy to guide their assessment session.  Next, they’ll deliver a set of recommendations and provide support to assist Tall Pines with fully implementing Land Trust Standards & Practices.


And we’re already looking forward to what next week holds!

 



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