New York, NY — September 22, 2008 — The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, announced today that the Open Space Conservancy (OSC), the land acquisition affiliate of the Open Space Institute (OSI), has been awarded accredited status.
OSC was part of the 2007 pilot group of land conservation organizations that applied for accreditation.
“Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “The accreditation seal lets the public know that the accredited land trust has undergone an extensive, external review of the governance and management of its organization and the systems and policies it uses to protect land.”
“The accreditation process was demanding,” said OSI President Joe Martens. “It required a lot of self-reflection and many, many hours of work—by a variety of staff members. But, at the end of the day, our organization is stronger and will be even more effective for having gone through this rigorous process.”
The Open Space Institute and its land acquisition affiliate, OSC, buys land and easements in New York State, our home and historic base of operations, where we have protected nearly 100,000 acres of land. OSI focuses on protecting scenic, historic, recreational and agricultural landscapes in the greater Hudson River Valley region, from the Palisades to the Adirondacks High Peaks. Working with state and local governments, land trusts of all sizes, and individual landowners, OSI has created and expanded more than 40 parks and preserves, promoted sound land use planning, and helped to increase public funding for conservation.
Land is America’s most important and valuable resource. Conserving our land helps ensure clean air and drinking water, food security, scenic landscapes and views, recreational places, and habitat for the diversity of life on earth. Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form land trusts to save the places they love. Community leaders in land trusts across the country have worked with willing landowners to save over 37 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about. Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of their critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.
“Being part of the pilot program was a way for us to give back to the land trust community,” Martens said. “We want to help strengthen the entire sector, and we believe that the accredited status is one way to do that.”