Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence
At a time of political change, one thing is clear and consistent: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 2001, the Tampa Bay Conservancy (TBC) has been doing just that for the people of the Tampa Bay area. Now, the Tampa Bay Conservancy announced it has achieved national recognition – joining a network of only 389 accredited land trusts across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.
“The Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission recognition is the utmost honor and achievement for the Tampa Bay Conservancy and for land and water conservation efforts in the Tampa Bay region. We are a stronger organization as a result of this rigorous accreditation process. This national award demonstrates and confirms the Tampa Bay Conservancy’s quality standards and commitment to professional excellence, lasting stewardship and maintaining the public’s trust in our work. We are privileged to serve with the others in the accredited land trust movement who are working to protect our natural resources for the benefit of the community as a whole,” said Heidi McCree, Tampa Bay Conservancy President.
The Tampa Bay Conservancy 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 the Conservancy’s lands will be protected forever. Nationally, almost 20 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.
The Tampa Bay Conservancy was founded in 2001 to protect the Tampa Bay region’s natural, cultural, scenic and agricultural heritage. The TBC has worked on land protection throughout Tampa Bay, recently expanding north to Citrus County and east to Polk County. It has secured a magnificent 60-acre property, the Gibbons Nature Preserve along the Alafia River, and a total of 116 acres of pristine bottomland hardwood hammock near the Homosassa River in separate fee simple donations. The TBC also serves as Trustee for the Doyle Campbell Park. The organization works primarily through an all-volunteer Board of Directors, pro bono legal assistance, and two part-time staff.
“It is exciting to recognize the Tampa Bay Conservancy 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 the Tampa Bay Conservancy has demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”
“Land trusts like the Tampa Bay Conservancy offer land owners a proven way to protect their conservation properties and to create a legacy that will live for the future, for people and the wildlife that live on the land,” said Ann Paul, Tampa Bay Conservancy Board member.
The Tampa Bay Conservancy 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 steadily grown and now steward almost 80% of conservation lands and easements held by all land trusts.
- Have protected five times more land from 2010 to 2015 than land trusts that were not yet accredited.
- Have stronger systems and more resources to steward and defend their conservation lands forever.
- As a result, have increased the public’s trust in land conservation, helping to win support for federal, state and local conservation funding measures.
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 information, including a list of accredited land trusts, 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. Our work in the nation’s capital represents the policy priorities of land conservationists from every state; our education programs improve and empower land trusts from Maine to Alaska; and our comprehensive vision for the future of land conservation includes new partners, new programs and new priorities. Connect with us online at www.landtrustalliance.org.