Pennsylvania land trusts (and longtime WeConservePA members) Manada Conservancy and Berks Nature reached a major milestone recently as they received first-time accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Accreditation, a rigorous and challenging process that holds land trusts to a wide range of professional best practices, represents to many within the land trust and conservation communities a significant benchmark of professionalism and organizational success.

Manada Conservancy and Berks Nature were two of eleven total land trusts in the United States to achieve first-time accreditation in 2024. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission was established as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance in 2006. Over 450 land trusts in the United States have achieved accreditation since then, representing just over a quarter of the active land trust organizations in the country. Both Manada Conservancy and Berks Nature provided extensive documentation and were subject to comprehensive third-party evaluations prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awards accreditation to signify its confidence that the lands of its accredited land trusts will be protected forever. Accredited land trusts across the United States steward over 23 million acres of land, an aggregate area over three quarters the size of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

With their accreditations secure, Manada Conservancy and Berks Nature bring the number of Pennsylvania land trusts with accreditation up to 25.

“Accreditation demonstrates Manada Conservancy’s continuing commitment to permanent land conservation in Dauphin County,” said Will Dingman, Executive Director of Manada Conservancy. “We are a stronger organization for having gone through the rigorous accreditation program. Our strength means special places – such as the Kittatinny Ridge – will be protected forever, making Central PA an even greater place for us and our children.”  One of the Conservancy’s partners in protecting the Kittatinny Ridge, The Nature Conservancy of PA, provided significant encouragement and grant funding through the accreditation process.

“It is such a privilege to work with landowners to protect the special habitats and conservation areas we call home in Berks County,” said Kim Murphy, President of Berks Nature. “Being an accredited land trust demonstrates that we are a professional organization using the best practices in our field to ensure long lasting land protection.”

“Receiving accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance is a milestone and testament to the many years of commitment and hard work for land protection following nationally recognized protocols by Berks Nature staff, Board of Directors, volunteers and landowners,” said Andrew Fetterman, Vice President for Land and Conservation at Berks Nature. “This is a proud moment for all involved and truly sets the bar for continued excellence at Berks Nature. Our collective commitment to accreditation now and in the future, ensures the protection of open space for perpetuity to the best of our ability.”

This post adapted from releases by the Land Trust Accreditation Commision, Manada Conservancy, and Berks Nature.