Conservation in New York
People in New York State have a long tradition of connection with the land and a long history of conservation. Over 90 land trusts work in New York, preserving farmland, forests, rivers, mountains, lakes, canals, gardens, parks and preserves. They protect land throughout the state, spanning the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes, Tug Hill Plateau, Hudson River Valley, Catskill Mountains and Long Island. Land trusts are also at work saving green space in cities like Albany, Buffalo and New York. These protected lands provide fresh food, clean water, wildlife habitat and opportunities for people to continue connecting with the land.
Thanks to the dedication of these land trusts’ staff, board members and volunteers, New York stands out as a national leader in land conservation. According to the most recent land trust census, as of 2010, New York land trusts have protected over 970,0000 acres, which puts New York at #6 out of 50 states for acres protected through private land conservation.
Yet, New York’s landscapes remain vulnerable. A growing population and rising land prices are intensifying development pressure. At the same time, pollution and climate change threaten to disrupt natural systems. Changes in political support could undermine land trusts’ work, even as they strive to respond to these challenges. The Alliance’s New York program aims to strengthen land trusts throughout the state, so they can continue protecting the legacy of the land in New York.
Alliance New York Program
The Alliance plays a unique and important role in New York, as the service center for the land trust community. Guided by the New York Advisory Board, the New York program provides grant funding, supports accreditation efforts, offers training, and advocates for state-level policies that support land conservation.
Grants: The New York State Conservation Partnership Program provides grants to help New York land trusts prepare for accreditation, build professional capacity, strengthen community partnerships, accelerate land conservation, and implement best business practices.
Advocacy: The New York State Policy Program strives to advance policies at the state level that support land trusts’ shared conservation goals.
Training: A wide range of training, coaching and mentoring opportunities for land trust staff, board members, and volunteers, from state conferences to webinars, are available through the New York Program.
Background on the New York Program
In 1991 a group of land trust leaders had a vision of bringing New York’s land trusts together as a more cohesive and unified community. They developed an advisory committee and, after researching a range of options, approached the Alliance about creating a New York office. The New York office became the Alliance’s very first field office. At first, the New York office was headed by a part-time Executive Director and housed in the Dutchess Land Conservancy office in Millbrook, NY.
Since then, the New York office has moved to Saratoga Springs. It is home to the Alliance’s Northeast field program, which also serves New England and the Mid-Atlantic. However, the Alliance continues to operate a program focused on New York State. It runs the New York State service center with the support and guidance of the New York Advisory Board.
While the Advisory Board has no formal decision-making authority within the Alliance, it provides guidance to the New York Program on initiatives, strategy, policy, process and fundraising. The Advisory Board also addresses issues raised by New York land trusts, evaluates the impact of Alliance policies in New York, and recommends initiatives to the Alliance.
The Advisory Board is comprised of 15 to 25 individuals who serve on the staff or board of a New York land trust, or who have demonstrated experience in land conservation. Members of the Advisory Board participate as individuals and not as representatives of their organizations. The Advisory Board has two officer positions (Chair and Vice-Chair) and five standing committees: Executive Committee, Fundraising and Communications Committee, Program Committee, Policy Committee, and Board Development Committee.
Get in Touch
Connect with the land trust community in New York: