A new office, a new milestone, and a chance to express our gratitude

from Joanna Dunn Samson, President of the Board of Trustees

The Aiken Land Conservancy is proud to announce our new office location at 300 Park Avenue in Aiken, which has been made possible by the generous donation of two long-time supporters.

The opening of a bricks and mortar office is an important benchmark in our development. Not only does it provide a place to conduct organizational business and meet with potential donors and supporters, the office in the handsome, renovated historic building at the corner of Fairfield and Park will increase our visibility and within the community. Please drop by when you are in the neighborhood.

The mission of the Aiken Land Conservancy is to protect Aiken’s unique character and cherished natural resources—to protect the places that make Aiken such a special place to live, work and raise a family. Since it was founded in 1990, the Land Conservancy has protected close to 3,500 acres in the city and the county.

ALC Leadership

Aiken Land Conservancy owes our strength and success as a non-profit organization to those who have served on the board since it was founded.

Our past Presidents were founders and innovators who believed in the value of conservation, who understood that once those natural and historic places we cherish are gone—they are gone forever. We and the citizens of Aiken owe a great deal of gratitude to those leaders.

My immediate predecessor, Larry Comegys, served as president of the board for four years (2012-2016). He was instrumental in shaping ALC into an organization that addresses the changing attitudes and increasing responsibilities of modern-day conservation organizations.

Under Larry’s leadership, ALC attained national accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance, a prestigious designation awarded only to land trusts with the rigorous organizational and financial practices necessary to ensure public trust and donor confidence.

In addition to shepherding the national accreditation process, Larry also led the organization in these exciting initiatives:

  • Unveiled a new, modern logo design for Aiken Land Conservancy
  • Launched the Aiken Young Conservationist Program
  • Started two new ALC fundraisers: the popular Clays for Conservation and the Katydid Signature CDE Brunch fundraiser
  • Created an Anniversary Fund for the payment of costs associated with land protection
  • Was instrumental in working with SCE&G and the City to commence the undergrounding of selected City power lines
  • Added over 450 acres of protected land to ALC’s portfolio

Larry’s term with Aiken Land Conservancy expired in 2016. He remains an active participant on the Advisory Committee.

Our current Board of Trustees are an equally dedicated group of people who bring their various skills to bear in protecting the things you love about Aiken. They are Steen Smith (Vice President), Jim Cunningham (Treasurer), Frampton Toole, Wilkins Byrd, Thomas Coleman, Lisa Darden, Kirk Henckels, Nancy Henze, Rob Johnston, and Lydia Rose.

I urge you to take a moment to read their bios on our website, Their efforts are tireless and professional and make my job seem almost effortless.

Finally, the day-to-day work of ALC could not be accomplished without our extraordinary Executive Director, Katie Roth, and our highly accomplished Administrator, Janet DePrince.

Katie manages to maneuver through all these personalities and develop our various initiatives with intelligence and grace. Her judgment is impeccable.

Janet’s steady attention to our organizational and financial detail is nothing short of amazing. I sleep better at night knowing that she is watching the administrative challenges of our ever-growing organization.

ALC Today

Today, the Aiken Land Conservancy does so much more than just protect tracts of land.  We are partnering with the City to protect our magnificent trees, restore our parkways, and create a voluntary conservation program for Shaw’s Creek, an important source of drinking water for the City.

In addition, through our Edisto River initiative, we are working to protect the headwaters of the Edisto River, the longest unimpeded blackwater river in the country, from the ravages of unsustainable agricultural and logging practices and unmonitored water withdrawal.

Our work would not be possible without your support and commitment. In the words of G.T. Smith:

“Donors don’t give to institutions. They invest in ideas and people in whom they believe.”

Thank you for investing in protecting our natural and historic treasures and for believing in the Aiken Land Conservancy.


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Aiken Land Conservancy Earns National Recognition

Accreditation Promotes Public Trust, Ensures Permanence

Aiken, South Carolina (August 22, 2016) – Aiken Land Conservancy (ALC) announced it has achieved accreditation – a mark of distinction in land conservation. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation, signifying its confidence that ALC’s lands will be protected forever.

“Achieving accreditation as a land trust provides an essential tool to attract the resources for a future in which land conservation will be increasingly critical to protect and enhance our quality of life,” said Larry Comegys, ALC President.

ALC was among 38 land trusts across the United States to achieve accreditation or to have accreditation renewed in August. ALC joins the more than 350 accredited land trusts that demonstrate their commitment to professional excellence through accreditation, helping to maintain the public’s trust in their work.

“National accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance is both an honor and a privilege, and ALC is proud to join the small family of land trusts around the country who can display the LTA accreditation gold seal of distinction,” said ALC Board of Trustees member Joanna Samson, who led the accreditation effort. “The accreditation process was an extraordinary experience: it has transformed ALC into a stronger, more professional organization and its Board into a more cohesive and educated governing body. The journey was well worth taking.”

ALC has many reasons to celebrate. Along with achieving accreditation, the organization just celebrated its 25th anniversary. The founding trustees had the courage, vision and energy to create an organization with a mission to preserve and protect the quality of life in the Aiken community. ALC has protected nearly 40 properties in Aiken County and cultivated a reputation for being good stewards in the management of their land.

ALC’s portfolio of properties is diverse, ranging from small pieces of land in Aiken’s historic horse district to large working farms on the edge of the county. All of them share a significant role in ALC’s goals as a conservation organization – whether it be to secure a piece of green space in an urban neighborhood, preserve the historic use of a parcel slated for development, or ensure the continued careful stewardship of a beloved family farm. One of ALC’s most prized properties is Winthrop Polo Field, a 12-acre jewel in the center of the historic horse district. In the early 1990’s this piece of land was threatened by imminent development, and ALC spearheaded a campaign to save it. ALC takes great care in maintaining and preserving this property for public use; the field is enjoyed regularly by equestrians exercising their horses, folks practicing maneuvers with their classic “4 in hand” carriages, people walking their dogs and neighbors out for a stroll.

“It is exciting to recognize ALC with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Accredited land trusts stand together, united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. This network of land trusts has demonstrated fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership and lasting stewardship of conservation land.”

Each accredited land trusts meets extensive documentation requirements and undergoes a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation application. The process is rigorous and strengthens land trusts so they can help landowners and communities achieve their goals.

The Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization. The Commission recognizes conservation excellence by awarding the accreditation seal. More information about land trust accreditation can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

About Aiken Land Conservancy

Founded in 1991, Aiken Land Conservancy is a 501 (c)3 organization dedicated to protecting open land, preserving the character of Aiken County, fostering the use of sound conservation practices, and encouraging land use planning for the long term benefit of Aiken citizens. Since 1991, ALC has preserved thousands of acres of land throughout Aiken and Barnwell Counties. These tracts of land include agricultural and forest lands, lands of educational and historic value, fragile ecological sites and watersheds. ALC is a member of the South Carolina Land Trust Network and the Land Trust Alliance.

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, 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 love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.

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