Land protection is about relationships. As we pledge to build these relationships with our community and landowners, the continuity of our staff and volunteers is central to our long-term effectiveness. Yet what can we do to create welcoming, diverse, inclusive, and high-functioning organizations? How did your staff weather the transition to working remotely or in a social distancing atmosphere? How did you lead this change? How can we attract new staff and retain those we already have, no matter the size, budget and challenges of our land trust? How do you lead for adaptability? This workshop will focus on a variety of retention strategies ranging from organizational culture to benefits, retirement contributions, and the life-work-balance expectations in today’s world. We will address underlying assumptions of what it means to build a culture of appreciation as well as examples of how land trusts have accomplished these goals—and the results—from around the country, as well as the two primary land trusts presenting (Mississippi Valley Conservancy and Montezuma Land Conservancy).
In an era of declining public conservation finance, land trusts are increasingly seeking alternative sources of revenue for much needed organizational capacity, stewardship, and land protection funding. Since the launch of California’s cap-and-trade program in 2013, more than a dozen lands trusts have engaged in forest offset project development and have generated significant revenue from their sustainably managed forests. Over the past seven years, these land trusts and their project development partners have learned many important lessons and charted a successful path to market. However, due to market access barriers including high project development costs many land trusts with more modest forest ownerships have effectively been screened out of the market. To overcome these challenges, the Land Trust Alliance and Finite Carbon are collaborating to assist Land Trust Alliance member land trusts in climate change planning and carbon offset project development. In this session, participants will learn about innovative tools under development to facilitate land trusts of smaller forest holdings in accessing forest carbon offset markets, including legal agreements for pooling lands between aligned landowners into joint projects. This initiative facilitates land trusts in accessing the voluntary forest carbon markets via staff and board education, project feasibility analysis and evaluation, and project development. In addition to charting a path to market for land trusts of varying sizes, this session will give participants a working knowledge of forest offset project development mechanics, roles and responsibilities of project partners, deal structures, project costs and revenues, and offset market function and forecast.
In April 2020, the Environmental Policy Innovation Center released Conservation of Defense, a report that demonstrates that the Department of Defense (DoD) plays a crucial role in land conservation, natural resource restoration, and, more recently, climate resilience. DoD owns and manages over 25 million acres of land across the country. Many of these properties are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Recurrent flooding, droughts, extreme wildfires, and rising sea levels are among the threats that military installations currently face. These same risks impact food security, water security, and environmental security, which are critically important to the national defense mission. In response, Congress incorporated language into the Fiscal Year 2019 and 2020 National Defense Authorization Acts that allows the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) and Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program to fund projects that enhance or improve military installation resilience. Recognizing that resilience is a long-term, multifaceted pursuit, DoD is working with partners across the Federal government and within the private sector, such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, to implement comprehensive solutions to climate challenges. During the session, attendees will learn about several of DoD’s ongoing efforts through OEA and REPI, as well as emerging opportunities to address military installation resilience through strategic partnerships.
Join this session to learn how to plan and manage trails that serve as wide a range of users as possible, while minimizing environmental impact. People often say walking is their favorite physical activity. Especially now, in the age of a global pandemic, people crave engagement in outdoor recreation activities; but for many people, limitations related to access prevent them from doing so. Land trusts, and land managers for public spaces, have an interest in providing trails and outdoor places to recreate that ensure everyone has access to nature. This session will explore Universal Design, Accessible Design, and how they work hand-in-hand to address and overcome barriers and challenges to access. You will learn about two real-world examples of land trusts who provided universal access trails. Having poor health or disabilities does not decrease a person’s desire for experiencing nature, just as one’s economic or cultural background does not eliminate the longing for outdoor experiences. We have a stewardship responsibility to address diversity, equity and inclusion and acknowledge we can do better to ensure access for all.
The Native Land Trust Council (NLTC) partners will explain how to work with federally-recognized tribes and Native land trust to expand land conservation, protect landscapes, watershed, sacred sites, traditional use areas and cultural resources through partnerships. NLTC will discuss the application of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to mitigate climate change (ocean acidification, sea-level rise, drought, extreme fire and wind events, etc.) impacts on their lands.
Most land trusts offer field trips for members and donors out onto the land that has been protected. Doing so connects people with the mission “products” they actively support with their donations. Many land trusts also offer natural history lecture series with the same intent. But careful analysis reveals that these events are often attended by the same group of loyal supporters who collectively represent a small percentage of the whole. How do we appeal more effectively to others? How do we become more relevant? How do we attract new audiences? This workshop explores different case studies from different parts of the country. Each represents a creative answer to these questions and each has delivered in some surprising ways.
Translating this highly interactive workshop to a virtual space, we will make a short video—from start to finish—that focuses on the importance of nature during COVID-19. We will start with real-world examples of how easy and accessible it has become to create compelling video content, including on a smartphone. Then we will brainstorm talking points and record them. Supplementing what we shoot with some pre-recorded footage, we will edit the video live in iMovie so that everyone can see how editing decisions are made. We believe that it is easier to do this than you think and that the tools are incredibly intuitive so that you can learn as you work. Participants will learn how to get the best results with the least investment of up-front resources. Content includes tips on staging, directing, recording, lighting, and being comfortable in front of the camera.
Large-scale restoration projects can enhance habitat, provide nature-based climate solutions, improve water quality, and address community needs. They also involve a combination of state, federal, local, and nonprofit players who all bring their own goals and agendas to the table. Across the country, land trusts are stepping in as a partner to manage and facilitate these complicated and exciting projects. The skill sets, community credibility, and partnerships that land trusts bring to the table are allowing them to serve as effective managers for these projects. They are also finding that the projects can bring financial, membership, and conservation benefits back to the land trust. Three land trusts will share case studies of the restoration projects they are working on that have joint ecosystem and community benefits. From stream restoration projects that provide new parks to salt marsh restoration projects that protect infrastructure and decrease flooding risks, these projects are unique community conservation opportunities. As a panel, the presenters will answer questions about the process for taking on these types of projects and lessons learned along the way. The session will provide a chance for audience members to learn from each other and share their own experiences with these types of projects.
Given the potentially very long list of important easement planning and drafting issues and the shorter time for this session, Karen and Steve will each have easement “template” language to focus on the following “hot topics” – (1) Establishing that the easement meets the “conservation purposes” tests in the tax code, with emphasis on what is and is not “clearly delineated government conservation policy”; (2) the need to “prove it” – show the reader of the documents, again and again, that the easement meets the “conservation purposes” tests; (3) watching out and drafting for reserved rights that could be called “inconsistent uses,” with emphasis on planning and drafting for reserved house sites and for commercial forestry; (4) amendments; (5) “extinguishment” and “proceeds” rules; (6) notice, approval, and “deemed denial” rules; and, as time allows, (7) other useful drafting tips.
Land conservation projects are, at their core, sophisticated real estate transactions. This workshop is specifically intended for non-attorneys and will acquaint participants with basic real estate concepts, legal elements of real estate transactions and outline the acquisition process from property identification through title searches and related due diligence to closing. Emphasis will be placed on basic legal terminology, possible pitfalls and practical advice. The topics will include: types of ownership and how interests in property can be held by different people; title searches, title insurance, and problems; liens and encumbrances; surveys and legal descriptions; due diligence and liability; letters of intent, purchase contracts, options, and rights of first refusal; basic information on deeds, conservation easements and other documents; and closing and recording.
Be ready to dive into the nuts and bolts of the accreditation application. Accreditation reviewers will share how they review your application, giving you insights on preparing your best application. As a participant you will leave knowing timesaving short-cuts, how to pre-screen your documents to avoid common problems, how to leverage the Requirements Manual, how to use the COVID-19 guidance for accreditation, and more. Appropriate for land trust staff and board members with an interest in first-time or renewal of accreditation that have some familiarity with the land trust accreditation process.
This workshop will support staff members and board members as they consider how to address a range of destructive behaviors that use power to harass, bully or treat others with disrespect. Participants will be equipped with the knowledge of the origins of destructive behaviors, and to name the range of those behaviors. Destructive board behavior can take a huge toll on both individual executive directors and other board members, as well as a potential negative impact on a land trust’s effectiveness and the community’s confidence in the organization. Participants will explore specific strategies for how to address, manage and stop destructive behaviors, and actively apply those strategies to specific issues and scenarios they may have experienced. The workshop will allow participants time for creating their own next steps to prevent or address destructive behaviors in their organization.
This session will give an overview of the C-Change Conversations Primer that has been widely and successfully presented to moderate and conservative audiences across the country, reaching more than 8,000 people to date. The non-confrontational, nonpartisan approach of the presentation is effective with groups who feel uncomfortable talking about climate change. Reaching groups like land trust supporters to deliver compelling data from trusted sources is critical to expanding our country's understanding of the risks of a changing climate and to shifting the perception of climate change from a political issue to a human one that will affect everyone. Learn how the presentation can be tailored to local communities showing projected temperatures and seal level rise based on an average of 26 different climate models. Case studies will be presented that communicate the important role that land trusts have to play in greenhouse gas mitigation and the development of resilient communities. Participants can share information and exchange ideas about best practices when making the connection between land trusts and climate change.
Imagine you live in a small town surrounded by twenty-year-old Douglas fir trees originally destined for harvest, but the landowner puts the parcel up for sale for a residential subdivision. Would your land trust buy this scenic property, knowing that you might have to harvest some timber to finance the purchase? This workshop introduces the framework of “Community Forests” and offers anecdotes gathered from across the Pacific Northwest.
In the Pacific Northwest, over 30 practitioners and experts representing community-based organizations, land trusts, counties and jurisdictions, private corporations, and regional and national non-profit organizations came together in 2015 to form the NW Community Forest Coalition. Created in response to the growing pressure on Northwest forests from increasing population, development, and climate-related disturbances, Coalition members have a shared vision that the community forest model will help stem the tide of forest loss, fragmentation, and degradation, while supporting an array of ecological services and providing fuel, fiber, jobs and recreation to surrounding communities.
Drawing from case studies published by members of the Coalition, this workshop presents participants with a balanced look at challenges and triumphs experienced by stakeholders in the region.
Large, densely populated, and bustling with activity, cities are cultural and economic centers, providing employment, leisure, and educational opportunities. Approximately 84% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas and by 2050, that is projected to increase to 89%. In order to meet the growing demands for clean water, food and energy, cities must find ways to maintain well-being for people through sustainable land use, efficient resource management and the protection of biodiversity. How will conservation organizations that usually operate in rural and ex-urban settings adapt to population shifts? Conservation based urban initiatives have the potential to contribute to more socially just and ecologically strong cities by encouraging community ownership and investment in neighborhoods and by increasing the number and quality of open spaces in the city. Innovative strategies for urban conservation are needed. During this workshop, participants will hear from land trust leaders who are working in urban environments and learn how they are contributing to models for community stewardship of urban land. We will explore how these models can potentially address the needs of urban communities and examine the pitfalls of this work. We will also discuss key guidelines for engaging in urban communities. Participants will leave energized to explore ways of working in cities and with tools to implement urban initiatives in their work, regardless of size and with minimal capacity.
This session will focus on the direct correlation between wealth redistribution, increased access to land and healing justice for Black, Indigenous and other communities of color (BIPOC). Through the intersecting lenses of decolonization, anti-oppression and economics, we will share models of land access that restore harmony, reconfigure power and reconnect the mycelial network of BIPOC land stewards to their purpose to nourish our communities and the land. This session will briefly illuminate the effects of colonization on the body, mind and spirit, and economies followed by explorations of land access models employed to rebalance power and heal relationships. We will make space for the processing of challenges and barriers; and collective inquiry. By uplifting grass-roots models for land access currently changing the landscape of wealth redistribution, participants will walk away with knowledge of accessible, action-oriented solutions.
Land trusts are often the recipients of funds that will be utilized for long term purposes or that come with “strings attached”, including stewardship funds. While this sounds simple enough on the surface, over time organizations may have many restrictions or board designations to juggle. Reporting and tracking can become complex and confusing. In this session we will explore the types of designations and restrictions that impact organizations and tackle the task of simplifying tracking. We will discuss ways to communicate and report on these funds in an understandable way both internally to the board and externally to donors and others. We will also explore how organizations can frame communication with potential donors to prevent restrictions that create burdensome limitations or increased administrative duties and outline steps to consider when past donor restrictions can no longer be followed.
Have your outreach efforts plateaued? Are strategies not connecting with new audiences? Are you tired of brainstorming sessions? You need a deliberate, systematic, and simple approach to updating your marketing, outreach and communication strategies that reach, connect AND engage so you increase membership and support! This session introduces a proven effective marketing approach so you can create a useful, data-informed, outcome-based plan. You’ll have the tools, resources and templates you need to get started and you’ll hear about actual land trust examples and successes.
Equity, access and inclusion are all becoming important elements of our work. But with no universal standards or definitions, where do you start? To begin, we will reviewing common measures in use today. It will include a look at the data behind the measures: census, parks and open space, pollution burden and health factors. These data can be difficult to obtain and prepare, we will offer trips and tricks to make it easier. Building upon the existing measures, the session will discuss other potential data and factors to include to make a more detailed and nuanced analysis. Tips and tools will focus on both data and GIS tools. We'll wrap up with a guide to getting started in your own analysis. What key decisions to make and how to balanced available resources and tight deadlines.
Land trusts have increasing "due diligence" responsibilities related to the appraisal reports supporting easement donations, especially in light of recent Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice proceedings against syndicators of easements and the land trusts involved. The presenters are the authors of the 2nd edition of Appraising Conservation and Historic Preservation Easements recently published by the Appraisal Institute in cooperation with the Land Trust Alliance. They will share their experience in preparing/reviewing hundreds of conservation easement appraisals for the IRS, the Department of Justice, and taxpayers over the past 20 years as well as in reviewing thousands of other charitable donations of real property for the Department of Justice. They will identify the critical elements of every conservation easement appraisal and the typical abuses they have found in their reviews of recently syndicated conservation easement donations. Among the critical elements often abused and to be discussed will be highest and best use analysis, selection and adjustment of comparable sales, and proper and improper use of discounted cash flow analysis. The presenters will provide a helpful "checklist" to assist land trusts in their review of appraisal reports and in identifying qualified appraisers.
Having the right insurance is a key part of good risk balancing for land trusts. We will explore the role of staff and volunteers in implementing inclusive outreach programs, the risks they encounter and the role of insurance. Land trusts need to assess many types of insurance to balance risk. How do you assess your insurance portfolio? How is the risk and mitigation in inclusive conservation different from traditional land conservation? Is your board covered against hostile legal actions? Is your fee property open for public recreational use? Do you actively invite school age children to events? We will cover basic types of insurance as well as some that may be unique to land trusts, and explore the specifics of inclusive conservation and the critical role of risk balancing and insurance coverage
Come hear from two land trusts and one conservation consultant about their journeys through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) planning and implementation. This session focuses on 3 learning objectives: 1) the “how” of DEI using personal narrative situated within unique organizational contexts, 2) the importance of broad culture change and 3) three distinct stages of DEI plans: formation, passage and implementation. Presenters will explore successes and struggles related to internal definitions and external equity commitments, goals, metrics, capacity building topics, identity/power, and communication norms. This session recognizes the value of learning from both successes and failures, and strives to explore pitfalls with honesty and humility. While there are unique considerations in adapting these stories to your land trust or organization, we believe that there is value in coming together to learn from each other and discuss this topic openly. Session attendees will leave with a concise list of resources, example plans, and other tools that the presenters have found to be useful.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are major threats to the health and well-being of our communities. Land conservation has the potential to play an increasing role in keeping communities safe during the pandemic, contribute to economic recovery, slow global climate change, and provide resilience to natural disasters like flooding and wild fire. This session will help attendees use best-available data, science, and tools to effectively communicate the multiple benefits of land conservation, prioritize the conservation of carbon rich landscapes, develop allies, foster relationships with nontraditional advocates, and leverage partnerships to advocate for land conservation outcomes. We will introduce attendees to the relevant economic benefits that conservation generates, from jobs creation and economic development to improved public health. We will also discuss how to use climate data, including the Forest Carbon Map and other tools, to advocate for land conservation.
This session will focus on understanding the forest management undertaken to restore resilience, diversity and productivity to the 7,200 acre van Eck forest. This is a practical overview discussion, and we will look at aspects of natural forest management, silviculture, conservation easement drafting and climate adaptation and resilience in this coastal Douglas Fir system, as well as financial aspects of the forest’s management. The coastal temperate rainforests of Oregon are among the most productive and carbon rich globally, with trees living for hundreds of years and serving as astounding forest carbon banks. Intensive commercial management has vastly simplified these forests to focus on fiber production, with harvests every three decades. This has major consequences for carbon emissions, habitat, and watershed function and biodiversity. Can these trends be reversed, and if so, will it help or harm local economies? The van Eck was a young, homogenous forest, dominated by 20-year old planted stands, when PFT conserved it and took over its management 20 years ago. Our goal was to restore it to a mature natural forest of mixed species composition, with old growth characteristics, while demonstrating long term, complementary ecologic and economic return. The forest has been managed annually, removing enough timber to frame over 1,500 houses of 2,000 sq. ft. and over 5 million reams of paper, all while doubling the carbon on site, in a more resilient forest of larger trees and more diverse composition. Forest management is guided by a clear set of terms and requirements in the conservation easement, with a requirement to also have a rolling 10-year management plan. These will also be discussed for their applicability (or not!) to other situations.
The gap between societal demographics and non-white professionals in the conservation movement in North America are well documented. For example, approximately 85% of staff at environmental organizations are white. Moreover, people of color are underrepresented at multiple levels: internships, staff positions, leadership positions and board membership. This is in contrast to research demonstrating that people of color are concerned about and support a broad set of environmental issues, including conservation and climate change, at higher rates than white people. As a response many environmental NGOs are trying to attract people of color through diversity measures. However, though often conflated, diversity and inclusion are not the same, and many non-white practitioners do not find their work environment to be inviting or supportive of their identity and/or culture once hired. This session will first feature panelists of non-white racial identities working as conservation professionals, whose personal experiences and perspectives illustrate some of the challenges faced within the predominant conservation framework in the United States. The panelists will then guide critical conversation combining data, personal experience and facilitated discussion. Ultimately, participants will leave with a greater understanding of what is needed to work towards an effective conservation movement, that serves all communities.
In cities across America, too many neighborhoods struggle with undue concentrations of stagnation, disinvestment and poverty. Past decisions have led to disparities in community opportunities. Land trusts need to help ensure that new investments in parks benefit everyone, especially the people and families who need it most. Most funding for parks is generated through voter-approved measures at the state and local level. In 2019, voters approved 33 of 41 measures, creating nearly $1 billion for new parks, the protection of water quality, natural areas and working farms and ranches in seventeen states. In New Orleans and Pittsburgh, important ballot measures that will intentionally direct funding to park-underserved areas of those communities passed. Since 1988, voters in cities, counties, and states have approved over 2,000 ballot measures, creating $80 billion in new funding for parks and conservation. Land trusts have been involved in many of these successful ballot measures, developing their advocacy chops and, in some cases, truly transforming their organizations. This workshop provides land trusts with the tools needed to lead or support ballot measures. Learn from communities that have successfully taken their case to the voters to create new funding for historically park under-served neighborhoods.
In this session, participants will learn about the Easement Programs Division updates, including easement impacts and secondary benefits and the future of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) moving forward.
Session Level: All Levels Session Location: Online
Building a strong and sustainable financial structure is critical to land trusts' promises of perpetual care to donors and communities. This directly addresses key accreditation standards as well. In addition, it's an essential platform for meaningfully addressing climate change, a theme which we will weave into various parts of the session. This material is not theoretical - the presenters have done the hard work of putting plans together and this session will therefore be directly relevant to participants and the challenges they face.
Ever increasing in popularity, trails and recreational access are increasingly incorporated into land trust conservation projects. Trails facilitate physical and emotional human connection to the natural world that increase relevancy of land conservation. But not all trails are created equal, those not carefully planned, designed, built and managed can become detriments to conservation values that land trusts first sought to protect. A relatively new science, trail sustainability is still unknown to many land trusts. By understanding and implementing its principals, land trusts can effectively balance public recreation and natural resource protection. A sustainable trail will minimize impact to conservation values, reduce management burden and offer an enhanced user experience, a win-win-win that will convince even the most staunch skeptics of public access. Presenters will showcase bad vs. sustainable trails, convey critical concepts in developing trails to minimize impact to resources and demonstrate how to capably incorporate recreation on protected lands while being sensitive to conservation values.
As usual, there continues to be a lot going on at the Tax Court and at the IRS. We'll bring everyone up to speed on the latest developments in case law and on IRS actions to curtail conservation easement syndicated deals. We'll also provide practical take-away tips and observations from these cases for land trusts, especially in the areas of building envelopes and reserved rights, consistent uses and activities, amendments, termination and proceeds, and planning for a changing climate.
In this workshop we will review the essentials of nonprofit mergers and related forms of consolidation, including organizational structure alternatives, success factors, common obstacles and the process for considering and pursuing a strategic partnership with another organization.
Renewable energy development is blossoming across the country, from solar panels on buildings and homes to utility-scale commercial wind and solar projects on farmland. Many land trusts have received requests to permit renewable energy projects of every shape and size on land to be protected by new conservation easements and land already protected by existing conservation easements. This session will cover when and under what conditions a land trust may allow renewable energy development on land subject to a conservation easement. The speakers will explain the scope and impacts of different types of projects, analyze those projects under Land Trust Standards and Practices and federal tax law, discuss sample easement provisions to address issues raised, and provide an analytical framework for assessing whether renewable energy is appropriate for a particular property. The session will also briefly highlight innovative renewable energy projects currently in process involving land trusts across the country.
Land protection is an essential strategy for conserving biodiversity and maintaining nature’s services under climate change. A protected network of climate resilient sites and linkages would go a long way towards sustaining the diversity of plants and animals in the US while storing substantial amounts of carbon, creating cleaner air and water, and facilitating nature’s adaptation. This climate resilience session will unveil the final U.S.-wide resilience dataset and discuss observations about resilience across the nation. Hundreds of land trusts are actively applying this science and the session will present case studies from across the country where the science is being put into practice. The session is designed to give you an understanding of this important science and the tools you need to get started incorporating climate resilience into your land protection work.
Words like “diversity, equity and inclusion” get tossed around a lot these days. However, what do they really mean and how can we apply them internally in our organization without feeling overwhelmed, or tokenized? This workshop is designed to propel you forward to actualize your personal commitment as a leader and champion in your organization. We will name and examine barriers that get in the way of DEI efforts and practices using tools that reset, realign and reimagine the equitable and inclusive spaces we each desire to live into. Participants will learn how to build a template for an inclusive culture using key skills like empathy and active listening. We will also develop a deeper understanding of what an equity lens is and learn how to apply it to your programs, policies and procedures. This workshop will be packed with storytelling, mindfulness and fun! Leave inspired to test new tools, ideas and methods of integrating diversity, equity and inclusion into your organization and culture.
As the composition of our nation continues to become more diverse, the conservation movement must include the voices of people who aren’t traditionally “included” in conservation conversations, including local social justice organizations. These collaborations rely heavily on building relationships rooted in equality and trust. To build these partnerships, conservation organizations have to enter into new forms of collaboration with structures that encourage and support the active participation, authentic relationships, and ownership for all. This inclusion should be met with a willingness to meet these groups where they are, and with the intention to work side-by-side as partners. Our common end goal is to protect the environment, and make the communities where we work and recreate, better places to live. Join Conservationists of Color and community members as we highlight examples of successful partnerships and have meaningful discussions about how community collaboration can bring about authentic and structural change.
Bequests can be an important contributor to a land trust’s fiscal health. This is a non-lawyer’s practical guide to handling bequests, particularly problematic ones, to ensure that land trusts of all sizes do not leave bequest dollars on the table. We’ll include what to ask for and when, what to do if you’re ignored, how to spot problems on accountings and tax returns, including avoiding income taxes, effectively collecting IRAs/life insurance/POD accounts, how to (politely) decline a request to return your bequest, when to join in/sit out litigation, with or without an attorney. We’ll include suggested letters and tax and probate forms.
Each of your donors is unique, but do you have the time to craft custom emails and send them resources tailored to their interests? Personalization allows you to craft more effective fundraising campaigns that target your donors' unique interests. In this session we'll walk through the process of running a personalized digital fundraising campaign, from collecting/sanitizing donor data, choosing personalization tools, and refining your strategy as you run your campaigns.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission permits remote monitoring for properties four out of every five years. However, it can be difficult for land trusts to know where and how to begin exploring new tools and approaches to monitoring. This workshop aims to serve as both a primer to remote monitoring technologies and provide insight on how land trusts could leverage these tools in their workflows for easement and fee lands monitoring with case studies from the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy California, Minnesota Land Trust and Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. We’ll help answer questions like: What does remote monitoring mean and what are various options? How could this approach complement and enhance my monitoring requirements? What other aspects of my work could benefit from these technologies? How can this approach save money or free up staff time to work on other conservation strategies?
Are you wondering how to turn broad strategic planning goals into concrete changes to your acquisition program? This session will guide participants through a process of turning broad value statements into a decision-making tool for strategic acquisition.
In this session we will first review the process of how staff at the Marin Agricultural Land Trust developed organizational priorities, desired outcomes and impact areas in response to an organization-wide strategic planning process.
Second, it will describe how these ideas were used to create a tool for evaluating potential acquisitions based on an organization’s conservation values. Dive into concepts of assessing protection value and restoration potential, risk analysis and communication of results and explore different data sources used to inform the evaluation tool. Learn about the different GIS databases and analysis, field observations, and landowner interviews and their respective uses in evaluating a potential acquisition.
Finally, we will talk about how results from this tool help staff and the board of directors better understand a property while also giving them objective metrics with which to talk about and make more informed strategic acquisition decisions.
Land trust professionals in the United States sometimes think that their work is mostly confined to our country’s borders. However, during the past decade we have learned that private, and public-private, land conservation is happening and expanding around the world. This panel presentation will feature representatives of private lands networks in Australia, Europe, Chile, and the entire world! These leaders will discuss the differences and similarities between land trust practice in the United States and other geographies. They will also discuss just how much we all need to teach and learn from one another about the tools and strategies that define global conservation success. This will be a stimulating, informative and practical discussion of conservation action and opportunities beyond our borders.
The COVID-19 outbreak has changed our world including how we advocate. From slowing the rate of climate change to defending the land trust community from threats that endanger our conserved lands, policy engagement is as critical as ever to the future of the land trust community – but the challenge is how to do it smartly, strategically and effectively. With the pandemic turning the world upside down – including how we advocate and lobby – this session will provide a crash-course on public policy advocacy and lobbying tools for land trusts and other nonprofit conservation organizations. Participants will gain a set of building blocks – the “secret sauce” – for achieving legislative successes. Through their own experiences and insights from experts, presenters will share stories of how influencing policy has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The session will conclude with a live interactive discussion between presenters and participants.
The relationship between the board and staff is tested when an organization faces a crisis. Decision-making can be greatly complicated by lack of trust, unclear board and staff roles, the perceived need to act quickly, and lack of engagement of board members. Effective governance coupled with frequent communication can play a vital role in navigating challenging situations. This session will highlight the fundamentals of governance and share a rapid assessment to use when a crisis hits and not all of the fundamentals are in place. We will share tips and tools to help board members and staff address and avoid problems and the opportunities that challenges present to build stronger and more resilient organizations.
American cities are growing in population and diversity. They also increasingly struggle with flooding, wildfires, drought, and heat waves; climate impacts vary by region. The “urban heat island effect” is well-known, and it’s easier every year to fry an egg on the sidewalk in July. It’s even easier in certain neighborhoods: marginalized low-income communities of color, especially those in larger cities, have less access to green spaces that cool surface temperatures, and so they bear the brunt of heat waves. Land trusts have done excellent work to protect ecologically important and sensitive lands at threat from development or resource extraction – but less so in urban settings. Access to urban green space sits at the intersection of social justice, community health, and climate resilience. Land trusts could be natural partners for urban organizations serving communities that historically have had less choice of where to live, have had less access to resources, and face the greatest climate impacts. With an interdisciplinary panel sharing stories and lessons from groups already doing this work, this session will give you tools to cultivate unlikely partnerships and set an inclusive strategy – and to make the case for why that matters to your land trust.
Climate change is a global crisis that is increasingly demanding the attention of elected officials, the public and the philanthropic community. How are land trusts rethinking their roles and work in light of climate change?
Some are focusing on the role that natural solutions, including protection and restoration of forests and wetlands, can play in sequestering carbon and improving resiliency to a changing climate. Some are advocating for solar and wind development that is sited in an environmentally responsible manner. Others find themselves dealing with proposed energy infrastructure that threatens preserved lands and natural resources, such as pipelines or transmission lines.
We will discuss how specific land trusts have adjusted their priorities and programs to address climate change, including work to advance natural solutions to climate change, policy work to support well-sited renewable energy and efforts to stop energy sprawl from damaging important lands.
1 out of every 4 American adults identify themselves as having a disability – people with disabilities live in every community. Land trusts are committed to designing and implementing successful community-centered conservation, including ensuring everyone has access to nature. Come learn from members of our Advisory Committee on Inclusive Health and Disabilities about how your organization can take practical steps to engage people with disabilities to improve access to the health and wellness benefits of nature. Explore authentic engagement across all sectors of disability: sensory, physical, cognitive, mental-health, and emotional. Lessons learned here on how to engage people with disabilities can also inform approaches to serve other underserved populations.
Session Level: All Levels Session Location: Online
It’s time to move the diversity conversation forward. Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) have been organizing for years to create their own access to the outdoors where access has historically been denied or hard to get. How do land trusts leverage their resources to amplify the impact BIPOC groups have in their own communities? By creating opportunities for equitable access to the places land trusts protect.
For the past year two chapters of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), in New York and Washington State, independently established partnerships with Latino Outdoors to create equitable access to TNC preserves. Latinx communities from NYC and Seattle, respectively, visited local TNC preserves to experience and steward nature.
In this session, we breakdown the lessons learned from two distinct partnership building strategies; define what “equitable” means in partnerships; explore the challenges that all partners face; and how this type of partnership can be replicated. Participants will leave with ideas for forming their own partnerships with BIPOC organizations and entities that might be interested in working with local and national land trusts.
Convening people through events is a powerful way to foster a sense of community and shared purpose as your organization grows. But building an event program can require significant resources, and with so many options, choosing the right direction can be hard. Here several event program managers from several land trusts about how they've built their event programs to raise broad awareness, engage donors, and build authentic connections to communities that they serve. Session participants will have the opportunity to share lessons and challenges from their own programs.
Does your organization have a strategic plan? Does it accurately reflect your organization's values, culture and impact? Have you used your strategic plan to engage donors? Donors want to know that the organization it is investing in has adequately assessed its environment, set both bold and realistic goals for how it will positively impact the community in which it works, and created a plan to achieve those goals. This session will help you create a strategic plan that is aligned with your land trust's values and strengths, and your community's needs. Learn tips on how to involve your board, donors, and community during the planning phase while maintaining direction and clarity, how to share out your completed plan, and how to show success annually in meeting your strategic goals.
Drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it on natural and working lands is essential to achieving climate goals. Increased adoption of regenerative farming practices such as conservation tillage and cover cropping can effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequester carbon while also mitigating flood events, protecting water quality, recharging groundwater and increasing resiliency to drought. As land trusts and public agencies involved in agricultural land protection step up efforts to promote soil health and regenerative farming practices, they need both a better understanding of what drives adoption of key conservation practices, and how to measure the potential for impact and target efforts accordingly. This session, led by American Farmland Trust's Climate Initiative Director, Dr. Jennifer Moore-Kucera, will explore the GHG reduction potential of specific agricultural conservation practices, and how rates of adoption differ by region. The session will also introduce participants to two tools that can be used to visualize, target and quantify the GHG reduction potential of practices at different scales and under different scenarios: COMET-Planner, a tool designed by Colorado State University in collaboration with USDA-NRCS, and American Farmland Trust's new Carbon Reduction Potential Evaluator (CaRPE) Tool. The presentation will invite participants to share their successes and challenges in engaging farmers and ranchers around soil health and regenerative farming practices and to brainstorm ways they might use COMET-Planner and CaRPE to help them target, quantify and accelerate adoption of natural climate solutions on working lands.
This session will focus on current and emerging water rights issues in land and water conservation, particularly the challenges posed by climate change. We will begin with a discussion of the possible effects of climate change on conservation values and how to accommodate the future unknown effects of climate change in conservation transactions that involve water rights. Finally, the session will discuss the stewardship of water and land conservation consistent with conservation values and climate change. The presenters are all practicing water and conservation attorneys with experience in the Rocky Mountain, Intermountain and Pacific Coast states.
Time – Talent – Treasure. Doer – Door Opener – Donor. Work – Wisdom – Wealth. If you are a board member or executive staff member, you’ve probably heard at least one of these three timeless descriptions summarizing the role of a “good” board member. Simply put, a land trust cannot excel beyond the well-directed skills, highly-toned muscle and commitment of its board. Keeping individual board members on the right track, out of the (invasive) weeds, and offering appropriate levels of “care and feeding” to empower board members to new levels of success and engagement requires great skill, muscle and commitment as well. In this interactive session, we’ll “unpack” what it means to govern a land trust with distinction. Board leaders and executive staff will get some new tools and tips to ensure Board member expectations and goals align with the organization, Board members are energized and empowered by the experience, and their leadership shines. Focused – Fulfilling - Fun.
This session will focus on the intersection of climate resiliency, large landscape connectivity, and private lands conservation. We will feature a presentation on a national survey currently being conducted by the Center to assess whether and how land trusts are incorporating connectivity into conservation efforts. Survey methods and results will be discussed. During this presentation we will also present information about a practitioner’s toolkit that the Center is developing based on survey results with the goal of providing land trusts and partners with science, maps, policy information, case studies and additional information to help land trusts incorporate connectivity efforts into their operations. The second part of the session will include an interactive workshop to gather additional insights and feedback from participants on the development of the toolkit. This workshop will give attendees an opportunity to provide additional insights into the toolkit components that will best serve their organizations and communities, learn more about the need to incorporate connectivity into land conservation efforts.
The long debate between leaving forests in a natural condition versus managing them to provide wood products is as relevant to land trusts as it is to large public owners - particularly during a climate emergency. This session brings together the executive directors from two New England organizations, the Northeast Wilderness Trust and the New England Forestry Foundation -two organizations seemingly on opposite sides of the conservation spectrum. These two organizations have joined in a dialogue to weave together different perspectives and develop a common, expanded framework for forests as a natural climate solution. The two speakers will switch roles for the first half of the session, each speaking for the mission and goals of the other. The session starts by covering important conservation attributes that can be achieved or not achieved by implementing either wildland or forest management practices. Two new conservation tools will be introduced - NEWT's Wildlands Partnership which assists in supporting and designating parcels as forever wild and NEFF's Pooled Timber Income Fund, which helps landowners and land trusts receive yearly income from Exemplary Forestry practices. Current scientific research will help identify the trade-offs from management or forever wild and place them in context of larger conservation goals and ecosystem services. Participants will leave with a new framework for analysis of their own lands and decision on how to treat them.
Over the last 15 years a community transformation has been taking shape in southwest Santa Rosa (SWSR) in Sonoma County, CA. In 2014, "A Portrait of Sonoma" found that SWSR residents’ American Human Development Index (a measure of well-being) was a third of that of a community a mere five miles away, meaning that a child born in SWSR could be expected to have an average life expectancy of 10 years less than their more affluent neighbors across town.
In an effort to improve the quality of life for all residents, a publicly funded open space district, a nonprofit focused on connecting people with the land, local County and City agencies and officials, and others have permanently protected nearly 40 acres of land in SWSR to provide places to celebrate culture, grow food, and find tranquility in nature amidst increasingly urbanized surroundings.
In this session, participants will hear stories of how local government and not for profit organizations have joined together, even triumphing over tragedy, to create vibrant, culturally relevant welcoming spaces that are sources of pride, joy and healing for a diverse community.
Participants will be provided opportunities to consider urban open space projects at home; creative partnerships and funding for successful project implementation; strategies and tools for community outreach and engagement; tactics for tackling challenges; and ways to describe the benefits of urban open space to ecosystem, economic, and human health.
At Ease: Art and Nature for Veterans is an innovative approach to empower military veterans’ wellbeing by connecting them to nature and the arts. Research shows that time in nature reduces stress and improves mental disorders that afflict veterans, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Developed by Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods in suburban Chicago, the program provides regular art workshops with a professional artist in collaboration with recreational therapists. At each 3-hour session, approximately 15-20 veterans participate in the three-part day. Professional artists teach skills such as macrophotography, color theory and music. The class ventures outside to practice their technique while exploring Ryerson Woods’ plants, wildlife, and 6.5 miles of trails. The day concludes with a group discussion that positively affirms each person’s work. Top pieces are featured in an annual holiday exhibition, attended by veterans and their families. This workshop tells the story of the At Ease program as a way to share best practices for engaging diverse populations of veterans and to share methods for using art to invite people to connect with land and open space. We will also explore strategies for identifying and partnering with federal and local agencies and nonprofit organizations in other sectors in order to share resources and expand impactful programs throughout regions and landscapes.
With two-thirds of land in the Lower 48 under private ownership, many imperiled species depend on private land for their recovery. Land trusts are well-positioned to be leaders in stemming the current extinction and climate change crises. This workshop will demonstrate how land trusts can access funding to conserve wildlife through habitat protection and restoration, active management for key species, and strategic investments in rare, unique, or exceptional habitats. No funding source fits all land trusts, so our panel will cover a range of federal funding opportunities. Defenders of Wildlife will review funding sources, some of which emphasize climate change adaptation as a priority investment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review the Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Coastal, and National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Programs. The Columbia Land Trust will present work they are doing in partnership with tribes and in alignment with climate resiliency data. Wildlife conservation is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse beliefs and cultures. This workshop covers programs for diverse partners to create healthy ecosystems for all. This work is profoundly, and increasingly, influenced by climate change. Sea level rise is thematic in coastal restoration. These programs can help landowners to recover the value of their land, while allowing the land to be reclaimed as natural habitat. This workshop is relevant to the three Land Trust Standards and Practices related to evaluating and selecting conservation projects and ensuring responsible stewardship of conservation easements and land held in fee for conservation purposes.
The backbone of any annual fundraising effort is entering the year with a set of clearly articulated goals, specific timelines and income projections, and having the data and staff support to back them up. In this session, learn how to craft a robust annual operating plan that weaves together the essentials of major gifts, planned giving, annual fund, grants and capital fundraising, all the while remembering to ask “where’s the donor?” to make sure their experience is front of mind. Attendees will leave with an understanding of the essential building blocks that make up an annual fundraising plan and with specific ideas to implement at their organization for the upcoming year.
This session will be most beneficial for land trusts with a service territory that includes a significant amount of public lands- particularly in high-use recreation areas. After a catastrophic wildfire in 2017, Friends of the Columbia Gorge launched a volunteer-driven effort to complete stewardship projects on federal and state public lands. Since the program’s inception, over 1,000 volunteers and numerous community and corporate groups have participated in more than 100 ecological restoration events. Over the course of two years, demand has grown extraordinarily- both from volunteers and land managers. Land managers need help. People want to help our public lands. Our organization can bridge that gap- but how do we grow the program sustainably and ensure that the work of our volunteers provides ecological benefit? To amplify our impact of stewardship across the Columbia Gorge, we are implementing a more cohesive approach across public lands and land trust preserves, while also integrating climate resilience into our stewardship decision-making.
We will cover the purposes of easement baseline documentation reports (also referred to as “BDR” or “baseline report”) and essential and recommended elements for a strong BDR. Using examples, we will also discuss how to avoid common pitfalls.
This session will provide a high-level introduction on how to utilize voluntary carbon offset protocols to incentivize the preservation of our nation’s grasslands. We will include a brief overview of the components of a grassland offset project, a discussion on how the project works, the roles and responsibilities of each project partner (land trust, landowner and project developer), financing options and the monetization of offsets through the voluntary carbon market including a discussion on project aggregation. We will also discuss policy considerations around grassland carbon markets. Although this session is focused on grasslands, attendees without grasslands may still benefit from learning about carbon offsets in general, and how carbon offsets are sold to companies that wish to voluntarily reduce their carbon emissions.