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Portland to Host Largest US Gathering of Land Conservation Leaders

October 7, 2009 | Washington, D.C.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rob Aldrich,
Director of Communications
202-638-4725, ext. 334 | 202-431-8848 (C)
raldrich@lta.org

 

Portland to Host Largest US Gathering of Land Conservation Leaders

 

Washington, DC – The Land Trust Alliance today announced that the nation’s largest annual gathering of land conservation leaders will meet this fall in Portland, Oregon, October 11-14, to plan the future of private land conservation in America.  Rally 2009: The National Land Conservation Conference is expected to draw more than 2,100 conservation leaders, government officials and academics.

“People in the Northwest have a great love of the land.  This has spurred a long tradition of conserving farms, mountains, rivers and most importantly, the culture of preserving and honoring the natural environment,” said Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth.  “What we do is to help local community groups be more effective in conserving special places before they are lost forever to development.  These are the unsung heroes who work — many as volunteers—to protect clean air, clean water, wildlife, and places to explore close to home.”

Land trusts are local, state or nationwide nonprofits whose mission is to conserve land in its natural or traditional state, including farming and ranching, through voluntary agreements with landowners.  According to a national census released by the Alliance, 20 land trusts in Oregon have protected a total of 75,000 acres – with 50,031 being conserved in the last nine years.

The census also showcased the American West (Pacific, Northwest, and Southwest combined) as the fastest-growing region for conservation, both in terms of the number of land trusts and the growth in acres conserved.  “We selected Oregon this year to honor the strong conservation ethic in this state, and also to give our supporters a chance to enjoy the state’s spectacular beauty,” said Wentworth.

Rally keynote speakers, seminars and workshops will address national conservation trends, cutting-edge practices of land conservation, and best professional standards for land trusts.  More than 130 workshops and seminars are scheduled.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D–OR) is a life-long Portland resident and a leading voice for land conservation on the House Ways and Means Committee, where he recently introduced the American Family Farm and Ranchland Protection Act, H.R. 3050. By expanding the estate tax exclusion for land protected by conservation easements, this bill will help conserve large properties that are so important for wildlife. Congressman Blumenauer is also an original co-sponsor of the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, H.R. 1831, and is working with others on the Ways and Means Committee to make the easement incentive permanent this year.  A passionate advocate for trails, Rep. Blumenauer founded the Congressional Bike Caucus and has promoted federal partnerships for open space conservation, including efforts to protect Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge.

 

  • Will Shafroth, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the U.S. Department of the Interior, is a consummate conservation leader. Prior to his appointment in March by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Mr. Shafroth worked extensively in the land conservation field. He was a founder and executive director of the nonprofit Colorado Conservation Trust from 2000 to 2008. The group increased the pace and effectiveness of land and wildlife habitat conservation in Colorado, raising $18 million in private contributions, spurring the investment of $35 million into conservation projects, and leveraging $200 million in public funds. He also played a significant role in developing an agenda for the conservation community in Colorado and developed local, state and federal conservation policies. His efforts helped preserve 30,000 acres of wildlife habitat and open space.

 

  • Michael Shellenberger is president of the Breakthrough Institute and serves as a leading national advocate for the U.S. to make large public-private investments in clean energy and decarbonization technologies. Shellenberger is also an author and political strategist who works on and writes about energy technology innovation, climate change, economic development, rain forest conservation, social values, national security and human rights. He and Ted Nordhaus were named Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Environment 2008.”

 

  • Gary Ferguson is a freelance writer whose science and nature articles have appeared in more than 200 national magazines, including Outside, Field & Stream, Vanity Fair, and Sierra. Mr. Ferguson is a former interpretative naturalist for the U.S. Forest Service, and has explored some of the remotest corners of the earth. His books have won many honors including the New York City Public Library’s Best Book Award, and his essays can be heard on National Public Radio.

 

MEDIA INVITED: Keynote speeches are open to representatives of the media.  To attend other workshops, trainings, field trips or seminars, registration is required.  Inquire at the registration desk, or e-mail Peshie Chaifetz, Communications Manager, at pchaifetz@lta.org.

About the Land Trust Alliance

The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation organization that works in three ways to save the places people love.  First, we increase the pace of conservation, so more land and natural resources get protected.  Second, we enhance the quality of conservation, so the most important lands get protected using the best practices in the business.  And third, we ensure the permanence of conservation by providing resources needed to defend protected land over time. The Land Trust Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and has several regional offices.

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