Ashby Land Trust March 22, 2014
The Ashby Land Trust primarily focused on organizational development in 2013 in preparation for our bid for accreditation in 2014. I’d like to start by thanking all of the Board members who worked on drafting and reviewing policies and procedures, and preparing other documentation needed for the application. I’d especially like to thank our vice-president, Jeanie Lindquist, for organizing and leading this important effort.
Two of our Board members, Ken Brown and Amy Aubertin, have decided to step down in 2014. Ken joined the Board in 2001 and has been a key contributor in organizational development, landowner relations and outreach, and a link to the outdoor sportsmen community. Amy joined the Board in 2007 and was instrumental in organizing the efforts of the monitoring subcommittee and getting us onto a regular monitoring schedule. It has been great having Amy and Ken on the Board and we will certainly miss them. Thanks for all of your hard work Amy and Ken.
The last Forest Legacy project in Ashby associated with the Forest Legacy grant closed at the end of 2012 and we received our final reimbursement for due diligence expenses from the Forest Service and DCR in early 2013. This allowed us to pay off the bridge loan we had received from the Fields Pond Foundation.
The entire Board of Directors stepped up as the Accreditation Committee this year. We spent several Board Meetings discussing and approving policies and procedures that will directly affect the quality of our work.
Following is a list of some of policies we have been working on:
This year we created a comprehensive Board Handbook for each Board member which will make it easier to pass on our accumulated knowledge, standards, and practices to newer Board members. We also completed work on our pre-application for accreditation. The pre-application was submitted in January, 2014. It was accepted at the beginning of March, 2014 and we are up to our ears preparing the application for submission in early April. The Land Trust is required to notify key stakeholders of our application for accreditation. We have been talking to our membership for several years now about accreditation, so the following formal notice will come as no surprise.
The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places forever. The Ashby Land Trust is pleased to announce that it is applying for accreditation. A public comment period is now open.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. The comments must relate to how the Ashby Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see http://landtrustaccreditation.org/tips-and-tools/indicator-practices.
To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org, or email your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 112 Spring Street, Suite 204, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Comments on the Ashby Land Trust’s application will be most useful by May 31, 2014.
This past year was a busy one for the Monitoring subcommittee – getting every detail of all four of our conserved properties’ baseline reports up to the standards required for Land Trust certification. With help from professionals Tim Silva and Jenn Tuomala, and assisted by Dan Ewald, the monitoring team of Amy Aubertin, Susan Chapman and Bob Leary were able to complete the baseline documentation reports and the annual monitoring for the properties on which the Ashby Land Trust holds a Conservation Restriction… Morrison Property, South Road Fields, Arnold Property and the Wiita Conservation Land (Blood Hill).
Monitoring is a yearly requirement on all the conservation restrictions. It involves walking the properties to verify that all the requirements under the restriction are being followed and that none of the bordering abutters have infringed on the property.
A special thanks to Amy Aubertin who is leaving the board this year. She will be dearly missed and her place on the Monitoring Committee is open.