LEAP is Underway!

By Kate Zurlo-Cuva

In January we kicked off the Land Trust Excellence and Advancement Program and are pleasantly surprised by the tremendous positive momentum we have garnered in the land trust community.  Our two years of preparation and development are coming to fruition this summer – we’ve kicked off our first round of customized services grants and have made new trainings universally available to Wisconsin land trusts.

MaryKay O’Donnell from the Land Trust Alliance (our program partner) and I have been furiously aligning our resources for services with the six land trusts receiving an assessment, implementation plan, and a grant to reach a major goal.  Just this past week alone we had the pleasure of beginning an implementation plan on a gorgeous sunny day for the Green Lake Conservancy with a porch-side view of Green Lake itself, began the guided organizational assessment process for the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, and initiated a path to accrediting the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

Green Lake Conservancy board members, Kate, & MaryKay celebrate planning success over lunch

Each of these organizations is the recipient of a multi-year commitment from GWC and the Land Trust Alliance for mentoring, coaching, and improvement activities – these services total nearly $20,000!  The land trust community has collectively pledged a commitment to perpetual land protection and we take this very seriously.  We feel striving for excellence is the key to our future success.

We’ll continue to develop new opportunities to learn from experts in the field as well as our peers in the Wisconsin land trust community.  And, we’ll open up a new period for applications to the customized suite of services for land trust excellence at the end of the year.

Later this year, we’ll head to Lac du Flambeau to tackle a few goals with the Northwoods Land Trust. We’ll also carry out guided organizational assessments with Natural Heritage Land Trust and the Prairie Enthusiasts.

Please support our efforts to strive for excellence in the land trust community.  Your contribution can make the difference in a land trust becoming nationally accredited, contribute to vital trainings to bring land trusts up to industry standards, and assist us with meeting our mission of protecting the places that make Wisconsin special.