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Mother-Daugther Team to Bike Across America

May 20, 2010 | Red-Tail Conservancy | Muncie, IN

Photos and interview available

Contact: Erin Heskett    
Midwest Program Director    
(269) 324-1683 |

MUNCIE, IN— Dr. Helen Steussy and her daughter, Al, will be biking 3,630 miles from Oregon to New Hampshire on their “Flight for the Land” tour to raise money and awareness for land conservation.  Beginning June 20th, it will take them 50 days and many thousands of feet of elevation to traverse the Cascades, Rockies, Black Hills and Appalachians on their journey from sea to shining sea.  The pair, dedicated to spreading the word about the value of land conservation, will pass through many conservation lands along the way – all protected by state and local land trusts, and other organizations dedicated to preserving for future generations what remains of America’s natural landscapes.

Despite the importance of land conservation to our health and communities, we are quickly losing critical natural areas as poorly planned development eats the open landscape.  Every day, over 5,000 acres of land are developed in the U.S.  That’s the equivalent of losing New York’s Central Park, Chicago’s Lincoln Park, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Houston’s Memorial Park, Tampa’s Al Lopez Park, and the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Current rates and patterns of land consumption, if left unchecked, will result in wide-scale loss and fragmentation of our most important natural places within the next 20 years.  The places we have counted upon for generations are disappearing at an accelerated pace and the window of opportunity to reverse this trend is rapidly closing.

That’s why Helen and Al decided to act now to help raise funds and awareness for land conservation – before it’s too late.

Across the country, local citizens and communities have joined together to save the places they cherish by establishing land trusts. These non-profit, community-based conservation organizations acquire and protect land for the public good. The nation's 1,700 land trusts help preserve land for future generations, protect our food and water supply, provide wildlife habitat, and strengthen communities. Strong land trusts work with communities to acquire and manage land for the purpose of permanent conservation and then steward the land for public benefit.

Over the years, land trusts have been extraordinarily successful, having protected more than 37 million acres of land, according to the National Land Trust Census (

Helen and Al will be meeting with land trusts along their route to learn about the unique landscapes these land trusts are protecting, but also to help highlight the important work of land trusts and to showcase their individual successes and challenges.

Helen will be keeping a blog of the trip, and has already started blogging about conservation and its importance to her and her family.  Follow her at:

Donations for the journey are now being accepted on their secure website: The proceeds from the campaign will be split between the Red-tail Conservancy in Indiana, of which Helen is a founding member, local land trusts along the route, and the Land Trust Alliance.

About the Land Trust Alliance
The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation group that works on behalf of America’s 1,700 land trusts to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America.  The Alliance 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. For additional information about the Land Trust Alliance, please visit or contact Erin Heskett, Midwest Program Director at the Land Trust Alliance, at (269) 324-1683.

About the Red-tail Conservancy

Red-tail Conservancy preserves, protects, and restores natural areas and farm land in east central Indiana while increasing awareness of our natural heritage. Focused on this mission in five counties in east central Indiana, since its founding in 1999, the Red-tail Conservancy has permanently protected nearly 2,000 acres of natural areas and farmland while engaging students and adult volunteers in land stewardship activities and education.  For additional information about the Red-tail Conservancy, please visit, or contact Barry Banks, Executive Director at the Red-tail Conservancy, at (765) 288-2587.


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