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Michigan Advancing Conservancy Excellence Program

The Michigan Advancing Conservancy Excellence Program (ACE) began in 2008 as a cooperative effort between the Land Trust Alliance and Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy.  The program’s goals are twofold: to help individual land trusts improve their practices to become more efficient and effective in protecting Michigan’s special places, and to strengthen land trusts collectively in order to help sustain a high-performing and cohesive conservation community.

The ACE program provides organizations with the training, knowledge and capacity required to be well-positioned for accreditation and sustainable for future generations.

Since its beginning, the ACE Program has provided its members with:

  • Guided Standards and Practices assessments
  • Implementation planning assistance
  • Mentoring  and consultations
  • Advancement grants
  • Land conservancy board training

The current phase of the ACE program (2011-2014) is specifically focused on helping land conservancies successfully prepare for national accreditation through the Land Trust Accreditation program. Program members, who applied through a competitive process in 2011, receive a full suite of services, as detailed above.

Additionally, all Michigan land trusts benefit from ACE through a variety of trainings, peer-to-peer programs, technical assistance, grants, and conservancy collaboration initiatives such as the Land Conservancies of Southeast Michigan Collaboration. Download the program description.

Michigan ACE News and Resources

Peer Mentoring Program

The ACE Peer Mentoring program is currently underway. Thirty-three Michigan and Wisconsin land conservation professionals are learning from each other and sharing with one another through this positive learning environment.

Land Trust Circuit Rider Services

Are you a land trust whose board needs to brush up on a particular topic? A limited number of “circuit rider” sessions – learning sessions where we can visit you in person or conduct a webinar for you – are available to Midwest land conservancies. Please contact MaryKay O’Donnell for more details.


This year, we’re pleased to offer several training opportunities made possible through the Michigan ACE program.  Please visit our webinars and workshops page for more information.


For more information about the Michigan ACE Program, please contact:

MaryKay O’Donnell
Midwest Conservation Manager
Land Trust Alliance
Phone: (269) 352-7032

Julie Stoneman
Associate Director
Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy

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Success Story
A Model for Conservation

A Model for Conservation

Dana Livingston started simple. Soon after moving to Dubuque in 1995, he began volunteering his time to restore a local natural area – and then others. He served on a couple of conservation committees – and then many more. Three years ago, Dana and local partners launched Future Talk, an innovative program that helps inner-city youth experience and protect nature.

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