Since 2014, nearly 100 land conservation organizations have integrated climate change science into their land-protection decisions with support from OSI. Through grants and technical assistance, OSI is encouraging these land trusts to lead the way on addressing climate change.
The South Carolina nonprofit Upstate Forever is the latest to sign on as an OSI “climate change ambassador.” Over the last year, Upstate Forever has been working with Maria Whitehead, OSI’s Senior Project Manager based in North Carolina, to help the local land trust integrate the latest climate science into their strategic conservation plans, and guide its use of scarce conservation dollars.
As a result of this effort, Upstate Forever has developed a formal organizational position statement on climate change, and developed an ambitious vision that outlines how their work across multiple programs can help reduce climate impacts on wildlife, drinking water and human communities. And this month, Upstate Forever launched its first volunteer field work day to implement climate resilient best management practices on the properties they protected.
“Partnering with OSI to integrate climate science into our conservation planning for land and water protection will help secure the future of the Upstate’s unique natural communities by increasing their resilience to extreme weather,” said Pamela Barber, Land Stewardship Manager of Upstate Forever.
Meanwhile, OSI continues to help land trusts lead the way on climate change, in the north as well as the south. This year, OSI will be offering four day-long workshops on climate resilience, and supporting an additional 10 land trusts in using climate science to support their land protection targets.