Avalonia Land Conservancy, Inc. Earns National Recognition

Land Trust Alliance Accredited

Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence

Mystic, CT (February 22, 2017) – At a time of political change, one thing is clear and consistent: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1968, Avalonia Land Conservancy, Inc., has been doing just that for the people of southeastern Connecticut and beyond. Now Avalonia announces 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. Avalonia’s Executive Director, Heather Milardo, said “It is an honor to receive accreditation from such an esteemed organization like the Land Trust Alliance. We are incredibly proud of how far we have come and are looking forward to the future of, not only our land trust, but of the communities in which we serve. As we look toward our 50th anniversary next year, it feels good to know that we are going into the next 50 years as a nationally recognized organization with a clearer vision and a stronger foundation.”

“Accreditation demonstrates Avalonia’s commitment to the best practices and standards of land conservation in perpetuity throughout its mission area of southeastern CT,” said Dennis S. Main, President. “This significantly raises the bar of our level of performance as we prepare to embark on significant new acquisition and fundraising activities.” Acquisitions Chair and Vice President, Sue Sutherland, said “The amazing effort required to complete the LTA application for a complex regional land trust like Avalonia truly transformed the organization.”

Avalonia 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 Avalonia’s lands will be protected forever. Almost 20 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.

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

Avalonia is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the most recent National Land Trust Census, released December 1, 2016 by the Land Trust Alliance. This comprehensive report also shows that accredited land trusts have made significant achievements.

  • Accredited land trusts have steadily grown and now steward a large percentage of conservation lands and easements held by all land trusts.
  • 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 Avalonia Land Conservancy

Avalonia Land Conservancy, Inc., a non-profit, tax exempt organization, is the largest land trust in Southeastern CT and one of the largest land trusts in the state of Connecticut. Their mission is to preserve natural habitats in our area by acquiring and protecting lands and by communicating the value of these irreplaceable resources. They promote conservation through land acquisition, active stewardship, easement monitoring and education. Over 3500 acres, across 90 different preserves, is currently under Avalonia’s protection.

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.