Hudson Highlands

Open Space Institute and the Land Trust Alliance Announce Nearly $400,000 in Grants to Help Communities Plan for Climate Change

Image Credit: Greg Miller

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 1, 2021) – The Land Trust Alliance and the Open Space Institute today announced nearly $400,000 in grants aimed at enabling communities to better plan for climate change and its devastating effects. The grants, awarded to local land trusts and nonprofits, help communities incorporate science into strategic land protection and stewardship, to harness forests’ natural abilities to protect and capture carbon while ensuring plants and animals can adapt to a changing climate.

The Alliance and OSI have awarded $315,275 to local land trusts and other nonprofits, named below, who will use the funds to incorporate climate science into their strategic land protection and stewardship efforts. Additionally, the Alliance has awarded $72,000 worth of direct technical assistance to land trusts nationwide for climate-focused planning or communications.

Grant recipients are located across the country. Three of the projects support returning land to Indigenous stewardship, employing practices with proven benefits for carbon storage and biodiversity. (See a full list of awardees at the bottom of the press release.) The planning grants are funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, Jane’s Trust Foundation, Volgenau Foundation, William Penn Foundation, an anonymous foundation and several generous individual donors.

The grants complement OSI’s $18 million Appalachian Landscape Protection Fund, launched earlier this year with a lead grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which makes support available for land protection to respond to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and to advance more equitable approaches to land conservation.

“Now more than ever, protected lands and forests are our future,” said OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman. “These grants will directly address the impacts of climate change. We thank the Land Trust Alliance for their partnership in advancing a proactive response to climate on the ground.”

“The generosity of our grant funders is matched only by the value and importance of these dollars to communities across our nation,” said Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president and CEO. “The grants will support the development of strategic land protection plans and related investments at a moment when every available dollar for such efforts is needed.”

Introducing the Grantees

Since 2015, the Alliance and OSI have partnered to deliver funding, technical assistance, and training to help land trusts and other conservation nonprofits respond to the climate crisis by incorporating climate science into their acquisition and stewardship planning. This year, the Alliance and OSI aligned their climate planning grant programs for the first time, bringing together funding from a consortium of national and regional climate funders.

Grants awarded by OSI went to Alabama’s The Nature Conservancy of Alabama ($6,750); Maine’s Appalachian Mountain Club ($8,140), Greater Lovell Land Trust ($2,300), Three Rivers Land Trust ($5,500) and Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness ($14,785); New Hampshire’s Upper Saco Valley Land Trust ($12,000); New York’s Western New York Land Conservancy ($13,000); North Carolina’s Conservation Trust for North Carolina ($15,000) and North Carolina Coastal Land Trust ($9,000); Pennsylvania’s Natural Lands Trust ($15,00) and WeConservePA ($14,000); and Vermont’s Alliance for Vermont Communities as fiscal sponsor for the White River Land Collaborative ($5,000), Cold Hollow to Canada ($8,300) and Vermont Woodlands Association ($11,500).

Grants awarded by the Alliance went to California’s Shasta Land Trust ($12,000); Florida’s Alachua Conservation Trust ($5,000 plus $3,000 in technical assistance) and North Florida Land Trust ($10,000 plus $7,000 in technical assistance); Indiana’s Central Indiana Land Trust ($10,000); Illinois’ Natural Land Institute ($9,000 plus $5,000 in technical assistance); Iowa’s Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation ($12,000); Maine’s Three Rivers Land Trust ($3,000 in technical assistance); Maryland’s Baltimore Green Space ($13,000); Massachusetts’ Berkshire Natural Resources Council ($7,000 in technical assistance), Mass Audubon ($10,000), Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust ($11,000) and Sudbury Valley Trustees ($10,000 plus $7,000 in technical assistance); Montana’s Gallatin Valley Land Trust ($8,000); New York’s Beaverkill Valley Land Trust ($3,500 in technical assistance), Genesee Land Trust ($10,000 plus $3,000 in technical assistance) and North Salem Open Land Foundation ($5,000); Ohio’s Western Reserve Land Conservancy ($11,000); Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art ($12,000 plus $5,000 in technical assistance); Tennessee’s Lookout Mountain Conservancy ($12,000 plus $7,000 in technical assistance); Texas’ Katy Prairie Conservancy ($9,000 in technical assistance); Vermont’s Northeast Wilderness Trust ($10,000); and Wisconsin’s Northwoods Land Trust, Inc. ($5,000).

About OSI’s Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund

Launched earlier this year, OSI’s ALPF is on track to conserve 50,000 acres along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, which contain the world’s largest broadleaf forest, are responsible for a majority of US forest carbon sequestration, and provide essential climate refuge for plants and animals.

Stretching 1,500 miles from Alabama to Canada, the mountain range contains vast swaths of healthy, large, and contiguous forests that are critical in combatting climate change. These forests and rivers also provide tremendous benefits to society, including clean water, wood products, recreation, and personal rejuvenation for millions of people.

Despite their critical importance to the nation, the forests of the Appalachian Mountains face significant threats, including development, poor management, and energy extraction. Nationally, U.S. forests are permanently lost at a gross rate of just under a million acres per year.

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