SLT in the News

Solano Land Trust Earns National Recognition

Author: Accreditation Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
Date: Jul 31, 2013

(Fairfield, CA) – After an extensive evaluation, Solano Land Trust has been awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Only 20 of the 150 California land trusts are currently accredited and Solano Land Trust is now the fourth in the Bay Area to receive this designation.

“Solano Land Trust’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation,” says Janet Mackey, Conservation Director. “Our land trust is a stronger organization today having gone through the rigorous accreditation program. We’ve waited for nearly a year to find out if we made it; we’re thrilled!”

Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Tammara Van Ryn, founding Executive Director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”

Solano Land Trust began working towards accreditation in 2009 with a structured assessment of the organization against Land Trust Alliance standards that identified work the land trust needed to do to meet the requirements. The land trust invested about a year getting their projects and policies in order and preparing the applications. They estimate having spent about $30,000 in staff costs and legal review to produce the actual notebooks and materials required for application submission. In addition, they benefitted from nearly 200 hours of volunteer work by board members, their Accreditation Committee, and other individuals throughout the process.

“Applying for accreditation required that we look at how we were doing business, including our board structure, financial management and policies that guide key aspects of our work. The exercise for board and staff was to learn more about our organization and to implement best management practices that others in our land trust community are currently employing. The board is exceedingly proud of this accomplishment,” says Linda Seifert, Vice Chair of the land trust board. Solano Land Trust is now able to display a seal of accreditation indicating to the public that it meets national standards for excellence, upholds the public trust and ensures that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.

“Land trusts are gaining higher profiles with their work on behalf of citizens and the seal of accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission is a way to prove to their communities that land trusts are worthy of the significant public and private investment in land conservation,” noted Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth.

Solano Land Trust was founded in 1986 to permanently protect working farms, ranches and natural areas in Solano County and to connect our community to these lands. Since that time, the organization has protected more than 22,000 acres of land so that the rural character and natural heritage remain intact for future generations Solano Land Trust owns Lynch Canyon Open Space, Jepson Prairie Preserve, King-Swett Ranches, Rush Ranch Open Space and the recently acquired Rockville Trails. The land trust also partners with willing land owners to place conservation agreements on their land to protect the land for agricultural use forever.

Land is one of America’s most important and valuable resources. Community leaders in land trusts throughout the country have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about. Creating a cadre of accredited land trusts is incredibly valuable to land protection in America. It ensures that the organizations that are responsible for stewarding permanently protected land are organized and funded in a sustainable manner and are accountable to their commitments to meet the highest standards. Accreditation gives donors confidence that Solano Land Trust will be responsible stewards of their funds just as we are of the lands we protect.

“We are excited and honored to display the accreditation seal,” says Nicole Byrd, Executive Director. “Receiving accreditation is something our organization – including all of our volunteers, members and business partners that support us – can be very proud of.”

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About The Land Trust Accreditation Commission

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. More information is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

About The Land Trust Alliance

The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats. The Alliance publishes Land Trust Standards and Practices and provides financial and administrative support to the Commission. It has established an endowment to help ensure the success of the accreditation program and keep it affordable for land trusts of all sizes to participate in accreditation. More information can be found at www.landtrustalliance.org.