On August 10 the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a program promoting the highest national standards for ensuring permanence in the conservation of American lands, announced that 39 land trusts–including three in Pennsylvania–have completed the rigorous process to achieve first-time or renewed accreditation.

“More land trusts than ever now hold this national mark of distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “The accreditation network has grown to include an unprecedented 389 land trusts that are helping communities across the nation save important places forever.”

Hollow Oak Land Trust earned first-time accreditation, becoming the 23rd land trust in Pennsylvania to achieve the distinction.

“Our first accreditation was extremely rewarding because it clearly strengthened Hollow Oak Land Trust in the process,” said Sean Brady, Hollow Oak’s executive director. “The Accreditation Commission staff were very kind and helpful…more nurturing than knuckle-rapping, for which our staff and volunteers were very appreciative!”

Two other Pennsylvania organizations renewed their accreditation: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and ClearWater Conservancy. Accredited land trusts must renew every five years, confirming their compliance with national quality standards and providing continued assurance to donors and landowners of their commitment to forever care for their land and easements.

“It’s an important endorsement that confirms to landowners, members, and funders that we operate in accordance with the highest standards in land conservation and nonprofit oversight management,” said Tom Saunders, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy president and CEO.

“Accreditation is an important milestone in ClearWater Conservancy’s evolution,” said Deb Nardone, ClearWater Conservancy’s executive director. “Working through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission’s intensive application process strengthened our organization and focused the work of our board and staff.”

See a complete list of all 23 accredited land trusts in Pennsylvania.