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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