Earlier this week, MHLC staff attended the Land Trust Alliance’s New York Land Trust Symposium at the Albany Capital Center. Executive Director, Mark King, Conservation Director, Sarah Walsh, and Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator, Sawyer Cresap, spent two days meeting with representatives from land trusts across New York and neighboring states to discuss the latest issues facing land conservation. This year’s symposium theme was Investing in Healthy Communities, with more than 300 participants from land trust volunteers to professional staff and conservation advocates attending.
MHLC served as a lead patron on the “Climate Track” for this year’s symposium. This sponsorship, which supported the climate change sessions for the event, was generously funded by Jeff Leon. Jeff is a Preserve Steward and has a conservation easement on his property, which allows for public access known as the Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve. Jeff is a former MHLC Board Member, dedicated conservationist, and has been a long-time proponent of conservation as a means to fight climate change: we recommend visiting the Land Trust Alliance blog to read his recent post, “My response to our changing climate.”
Climate change sessions at the symposium included information on integrating renewable energy into local communities and conservation projects, land trusts’ role in protecting water sources, and strategic mission development for clean energy and climate change mitigation.
In addition, MHLC Executive Director, Mark King, co-led one of the day’s field trips with our conservation partners at the Open Space Institute. The trip took attendees to Thacher State Park for a tour of the new Visitor Center, a short hike along the limestone escarpment, and a tour of Indian Ladder Farms, highlighting our conservation work and partnership with OSI along the Helderberg Escarpment. The group talked about the importance of viewsheds as a conservation priority, identifying projects which improve local habitat connectivity, and the critical need to focus on working lands for conservation.
Grants Awarded to MHLC
On Tuesday the 24th, the Land Trust Alliance announced the recipients of the 2018 grant awards through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP). The NYSCPP is an innovative public-private partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Alliance’s New York Program. This program offers competitive matching grants to qualified New York land trusts to advance land conservation, economic development, farmland protection, community conservation and recreation and tourism.
MHLC has been awarded two grants in 2018! As an accredited land trust, we were eligible to apply for project-specific matching grants which help us work towards our conservation mission.
The first grant is a Stewardship and Resource Management Grant, which will help us improve our public preserves through roadside and registration signage. With the resources from this grant, MHLC will put roadside signs at all preserves, improving public access and increasing our outreach. We will also improve our registration areas with improved signage- this will help us gauge preserve usage and better manage our preserves for the public.
The second is a Transaction Grant which will help us preserve a family farm in Montgomery County. This family farm consists of over 500 acres, and by conserving this land with an easement (made possible with the resources from the NYSCPP Transaction Grant), MHLC is expanding our reach in this county and catalyzing future farm conservation in the region.
Both projects are generously supported with funding from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. Stay tuned for more updates as we progress with these two exciting projects!