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Ambassadors Case Studies


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Senator Max Baucus (center) with Rock Ringling of Montana Land Reliance (right) & Rand Wentworth of the Land Trust Alliance (left)

Rock Ringling of Montana Land Reliance, is an archetype of what it means to be an Ambassador. In his efforts to defend the land vital to Montana ranchers, Rock worked with Senator Max Baucus, who served as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and thus was ideally positioned to improve tax incentives for land conservation. He arranged for Senator Baucus to meet easement donors, took the senator's aides finishing, and even worked with the senator’s cousin on an easement.

“I think we often take for granted what has been provided for us, and that is no longer an option. We do not engage at our peril.”
-- Rock Ringling, MLR

When conservation tax deductions were at risk in 2005, Senator Baucus was an avid supporter, and the tax incentive was instead expanded. This incentive has not only enabled MLR to conserve nearly a million acres, but benefitted land trusts across the country.

Rock was awarded the inaugural Advocacy Ambassador Award at Rally 2013.


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Senator Stabenow tours a farm with GrandTraverse Regional Land Conservancy Executive Director Glen Chown (left) and Acme Township Supervisor Wayne Kladder

Glen Chown of Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (CRTLC).

The Farm Bill has enabled GRTLC to greatly expand its conservation work, thus they were fortunate to have Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow as their senator and made it a priority to cultivate a relationship. They worked with mutual friends on multiple occasions to show the Senator how conservation has benefitted the local farm and business community.

“When push came to shove on rewriting the Farm Bill, this all paid off. The Senator and her staff knew what we were talking about. They cared. And they had come to view us as the experts.”
-- GTRLC Board Member Beth Karczewski

By publicly thanking Senator Stabenow through op-eds and awards at a variety of media events, GTRLC established a lasting relationship that yielded significant victories for the land trust community. When all was said and done, Glen Chown was invited as one of Senator Stabenow's 16 guests to join President Obama for the bill's signing ceremony.

Rep. Nan Hayworth Tours Park Construction with Scenic Hudson

Rep. Hayworth and Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan discuss plans for a new park. Credit: Scenic Hudson

Ambassadors Andy Bicking of Scenic Hudson and Andy Chmar of Hudson Highlands Land Trust have worked together a variety of events to cultivate relationships with their representatives.

In one instance, Scenic Hudson hosted a tour for Congresswoman Nan Hayworth (R-NY), who met with local government representatives, environmental organizations and land trusts on a tour of Hudson waterfront sites. They discussed the importance of conservation in creating local jobs, investing in resources and protecting the quality of life.

The group thanked Rep. Hayworth for her work on the Conservation Easement Incentive Act and Highlands Conservation Act, which was repeated in local press coverage of the event.

"The Hudson River Valley is home to nationally recognized natural resources that are essential to the quality of life and economy in the region . . . We look forward to working with the Congresswoman to adequately fund the Highlands Conservation Act. . ."
-- Ned Sullivan, President of Scenic Hudson

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Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

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Congress wrestles with tax breaks for open space

July 29, 2014 | Poughkeepsie Journal | NY

House passes Gerlach conservation tax break bill, now up to Senate

July 18, 2014 | The Mercury News | Pottstown, PA

The Time is Now for Congress to Act on Conservation

July 15, 2014 | Politico | Washington, D.C.

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