Distinction Awarded for Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence
Annapolis, Maryland (Aug. 7, 2019) – One thing that unites us as a nation is land: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1988, Scenic Rivers Land Trust has been doing just that for Anne Arundel County. Now Scenic Rivers announced it has achieved national accreditation – joining a national network of land trusts that have protected over 20 million acres of land and demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.
“We are proud to be one of only five accredited local land trusts in Maryland,” said Scenic Rivers’ Executive Director Rick Leader. “Our conservation director, Sarah Knebel, led a team of board volunteers through the rigorous two-year review process to ensure that we are well-positioned to serve Anne Arundel County long into the future.”
Scenic Rivers provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation, signifying its confidence that Scenic Rivers has the best practices, policies and finances in place to ensure that its land conservation easements will be protected forever.
“Accreditation demonstrates Scenic Rivers’ commitment to the highest practices and ethics of permanent land conservation,” said Knebel. “We could not have achieved this distinction without the commitment of critical donors and supporters who ensure our ability to grow. In particular, the Paul and Maxine Frohring Foundation is a significant investor in increasing Scenic Rivers’ capacity to protect land.”
Scenic Rivers is the most active land trust in Anne Arundel County, holding 68 conservation easements across the county, totaling more than 3,000 acres. Notably, Scenic Rivers co-holds conservation easements along with the Maryland Environmental Trust on the Bacon Ridge Natural Area, where Scenic Rivers hosts the annual Walk for the Woods, a day of guided hikes throughout the 900+ acre ecologically and historically significant area, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Contee Farm. Both properties are open to the public for passive recreation.
In the last year, Scenic Rivers has conserved 325 acres throughout Anne Arundel County, permanently protecting lands ranging from a 100-year-old family farm to rare wetlands and acres of vital forestland.
“It is exciting to recognize Scenic Rivers Land Trust with this national mark of distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 400 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”
About the Scenic Rivers Land Trust
A nationally accredited land trust, Scenic Rivers is a private nonprofit dedicated to protecting forests, wetlands, farmlands and other open spaces in Anne Arundel County. Since 1988, Scenic Rivers has used land conservation easements to protect special places from development and to facilitate tax incentives for property owners. To date, Scenic Rivers holds 68 conservation easements across the county, totaling more than 3,000 acres—over one percent of county land.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts. For more information and a list of accredited land trusts, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org.