Climate Catalyst Program

Image Credit: Greg Miller

Across the country, communities and ecosystems are experiencing climate change and grappling with its unknowns. How much will temperatures rise and how quickly? How will these changes impact the forests, streams, and wildlife we protect?

Despite this uncertainty, scientists agree: land protection is, and will remain, a key strategy for ensuring that natural systems — and the plants, animals, and people that depend upon them — can continue to thrive.

Since 2012, OSI has been helping land trusts and other groups that protect and steward land develop effective approaches to conserving land in a rapidly changing climate. Working alongside our capital grants program that funds the acquisition of land that is resilient and stores and sequesters carbon, OSI has supported the development of over 70 climate-aligned conservation plans and offered workshops, webinars, and trainings to over 6,000 participants.

OSI’s Catalyst Program currently focuses on addressing the following climate issues: habitat resilience, forest carbon storage and sequestration, and community resilience to climate impacts such as flooding. We support conservation groups and communities by offering planning grants and technical assistance, authoring guidance documents, and hosting workshops.

Past Grant Rounds 

2021 grant and technical assistance awards

Learn about three of the projects supported in the 2021 grant round here.

2022 grant and technical assistance awards

Guidance Documents

OSI works with partners to distill research and best practices into practical guides to inform strategic land protection and land management. See several examples of this work below.

Freshwater Flooding

Climate Resilience

  • Conserving Nature in a Changing Climate provides a user-friendly workbook for land trusts and other conservation organizations to gain the knowledge and tools to fulfill their critical missions, even in the face of uncertainty. With a basic knowledge of relevant climate science and the tools described in this guide, conservation leaders can revisit and revise their land protection goals, and confidently explain to funders, board members, and landowners why their efforts matter now more than ever. The workbook, developed in partnership with the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Collaborative and a team of land trust advisors, includes a free online mapping platform to help land trusts identify climate resilient sites. This tool, built for the Northeast, complements The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient Land Mapping Tool.

Carbon Mitigation

Climate Communications

  • How to Talk About Climate Change: This report from the Land Trust Alliance and the Open Space Institute offers guidance to help land trusts connect on climate issues and effectively communicate about the benefits of protecting land with climate in mind.

Climate-informed Planning Case Studies

Workshops & Trainings

Sorting through the vast amount data and scientific concepts related to climate change can be overwhelming. OSI frequently offers webinars, in-person trainings, and conference presentations with guidance and approaches to help land trusts address climate impacts in their communities.

To date, in OSI’s workshops and presentations we have covered topics of terrestrial climate resilience, carbon mitigation, sea-level rise, wildlife corridors, flood hazard mitigation, and climate communications.

Capital Grants

OSI’s education and outreach complement our Appalachian Landscapes Land Protection Fund. For more information, please visit the Fund page.

This program is made possible through support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Jane’s Trust Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Volgenau Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, and several generous individual donors.

Next Steps to Apply

The application period for the 2022 Land & Climate Catalyst Planning Grants is closed. 

Please sign up here to receive notification about future requests for proposals and updates on OSI’s Climate Catalyst program.

If you have any questions, please contact OSI Conservation Planning Manager Hallie Schwab: [email protected].

Program Inquiries

Hallie Schwab

Conservation Planning Manager

(929) 405-3294

General Inquiries

Yasemin Unal-Rodriguez

Conservation Capital Associate

(212) 290-8200 x1311

What You Can Do

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