The latest accredited land trusts were announced in February 2014 and the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association congratulates the newest Pennsylvania accredited land trust, French Creek Valley Conservancy, as well as the follow four organizations that received accreditation renewal: Brandywine Conservancy, Countryside Conservancy, Heritage Conservancy and North Branch Land Trust.  Pennsylvania now boasts 22 accredited land trusts. There are currently 254 accredited land trusts, nationwide.

These organizations have made significant investments in their organizations that — as many testify below — have made them stronger, more efficient and more effective.

Congratulations to Pennsylvania’s Accredited Land Trusts!

Allegheny Land Trust

The entire accreditation process, from our self-assessment to the last conference call with the Commission, served to validate what we were doing right and identified what we could be doing better,” said Roy Kraynyk, executive director of Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) in Pennsylvania. “The process resulted in new policies and procedures that will substantially reduce the chances of an error or omission that could be a problem for us now or in the future. We now feel empowered to advance ALT’s mission with confidence knowing that we are meeting national standards.”  – Roy Kraynyk, Allegheny Land Trust

Bedminster Land Conservancy

“We are delighted to receive this very valued ‘seal of approval’ and will display our accreditation seal with honor. The pilot program helped us refine and improve some of our practices and ensure that we are on the right path with regard to others. Although it was a big undertaking for our small land trust, we knew it would help us ensure we were doing the ‘right thing’ for land preservation in our area.” – Wendy Battisti, President

Brandywine Conservancy

“Accreditation brings credibility and accountability to the land trust community through national recognition of our commitment to excellence and the highest professional standards. The process is a great team-building effort and creates an opportunity for young and old organizations to step back, evaluate land trust policies and procedures, and make improvements.” – Sherri-Evans Stanton, Director / Environmental Management Center

Chestnut Hill HIstorical Society

“The Chestnut Hill Historical Society is honored to join the ranks of nationally accredited land trusts.  Along with the honor, the process itself was they key in enabling the Historical Society to grow as an organization. Moving forward with this achievement will strengthen the ability of the Historical Society to assure generous property owners that their land will be appropriately protected for generations to come.” – Frank Niepold, Board President

ClearWater Conservancy

“Accreditation is an important milestone in ClearWater Conservancy’s evolution. Working through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission’s intensive application process strengthened our organization and focused the work of our Board and staff. To apply for accreditation we submitted extensive organizational and project documentation and made a significant commitment of time and money. We are so pleased to share this significant accomplishment with our members and partners and the community that we serve.”

Countryside Conservancy

“Applying for accreditation was demanding and time-consuming, especially for the staff, but it began paying off even before we submitted our application in terms of making us improve our professional practices. After going through the accreditation process, we really have thought through the big questions in land conservation.” – Mary Felley, Executive Director

Delaware Highlands Conservancy

“Going through the accreditation process has helped the Delaware Highlands Conservancy prepare itself to grow and to become more effective in protecting land in the region. We can now say with confidence that we comply with the highest standards in the land trust community.” – Greg Belcamino, Board President

Edward L. Rose Conservancy

“We are very pleased to be one of more than 207 member organizations nationwide who have been accepted as an accredited land trust. As a small conservancy, we have had to work very hard to achieve this goal but we know that it will benefit our constituents and that it will guide us in all of our work in furthering our mission of protecting natural resources through land and water conservation, providing sanctuary for wildlife and preserving scenic beauty.” – Patty Bloomer, President

French Creek Valley Conservancy

“Achieving land trust accreditation is an organizational milestone for the French Creek Valley Conservancy (FCVC). As a cornerstone of our strategic plan, this achievement positions FCVC to continue its growth as a land trust and ensure that it adheres to the highest ethical, legal, technical and professional standards for land acquisition and stewardship. Adoption of these standards goes a long way towards ensuring that we can be entrusted with property owners’ visions for protecting their land in perpetuity.” – Jim Lang, French Creek Valley Conservancy President.

Heritage Conservancy

“The accreditation process was challenging at times, but it’s very gratifying to have participated in the pilot program and achieve the milestone of being a part of the first group of land trusts to be accredited. Heritage Conservancy is proud to have received this national recognition from the Land Trust Alliance and will display the accreditation seal with great honor.” – Cliff David, President

Lancaster County Conservancy

“Going through the accreditation process was a way for us to fine tune our operations and to publicly demonstrate how seriously we take our mission to permanently protect our lands and natural resources. It both increases our accountability and transparency, and further instills a sense of confidence with our partners, members, friends, and the public in our ability to fulfill this mission. Achieving the status of an accredited land trust is truly a distinction.” – Ralph Goodno, Executive Director

Lancaster Farmland Trust

“Lancaster Farmland Trust is proud to display the accreditation seal. It is a visible illustration of our commitment to excellence in permanently protecting Lancaster County’s precious farmland.” – Karen Martynik, Executive Director

The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County

“As a small grass roots land trust accreditation gives us and our constituents the confidence and the reassurance that we’re on the right path. It also provides our organization with the guidance to consistently streamline our operations going forward.  We’re in it for the long haul- perpetuity on our books is forever and a day.” – Gwendolyn M. Lacy, Esq., Executive Director

Land Conservancy of Adams County

“The Land Conservancy’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation. Our organization is stronger today having gone through the rigorous accreditation program.” – Norma Calhoun, Land Conservancy of Adams County President

Montgomery County Lands Trust

“The Land Trust Accreditation process motivated Montgomery County Lands Trust to dedicate the time and resources needed to focus with intensity on activities that strengthen and professionalize our organization. Knowing that we have done the critical work of reviewing, updating and developing state-of-the-art policies confirms that we are operating in the most ethical and responsible manner. We are honored to join the ranks of top-rated land trusts.” – Dulcie F. Flaharty, Executive Director

Natural Lands Trust

“Imagine reviewing and documenting fifty-five years worth of an organization’s work. It was well worth the effort, though. Applying for Accreditation gave us the opportunity to reflect on our current management and ensure that we were operating at the very highest level.” – Andy Pitz, Vice President, Policy & Planning

The Nature Conservancy

“We are proud to be working with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and to have earned the distinction of being accredited. For all land trusts, accreditation sends a powerful message that our organizations strive to achieve the highest standards and that our work will endure for generation to come.” – Bill Kunze, Executive Director (Pennsylvania Chapter)

North Branch Land Trust

“When the prospect of accreditation appeared on the horizon, the staff and board at the North Branch Land Trust were intrigued. When the pilot rounds opened, we immediately formed an accreditation committee, submitted our paperwork and were accepted into Pilot Round Two. The application process was daunting, and often tedious; however, our organization, clients and supporters are so much better off for our experience.” – Linda Thoma, Director of Operations

Tinicum Conservancy

“I am very proud of our trustees and staff, who have made this designation possible. Supporters, and those considering support for the Conservancy, can feel confident that their generous contributions of money and time will be well invested in Tinicum’s future.”  – Jim Vaseleck, President

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

“The accreditation process was an excellent experience for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy because it allowed us to examine and update our policies and processes. The accreditation confirms that the Conservancy is protecting Western Pennsylvania’s landscapes at the highest standards required by the Land Trust Alliance.” – Tom Saunders, President & CEO

Westmoreland Conservancy

“Westmoreland Conservancy’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land protection and conservation. Our land trust is a stronger organization for the experience, better equipped to navigate the various challenges that present themselves in the face of environmental preservation. We are proud to display the Accreditation Seal in conjunction with our name. It underlines our slogan: ‘Protecting Nature’s home, enriching ours.'” – Shelly Tichy, President

Willistown Conservation Trust

“We did not make the decision to apply for accreditation lightly, and it took a great deal of staff and board time and resources to complete. But, there is no doubt that it was worth the effort, and that we now are a stronger and more efficient organization. The process helped us refine our systems and rethink some of our internal procedures. With this accreditation, our supporters should feel confident that we have the resources in place to ensure the permanence of our conservation efforts.” – Jeannie B. Van Alen, Executive Director