WPC Earns Accreditation from Land Trust Accreditation Commission
Mon, Feb 27th 2012, 11:06. Filed under News Releases.
Pittsburgh, Pa. – February, 27 2012 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) has received accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
“The accreditation process was an excellent experience for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy because it allowed us to examine and update our policies and processes,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy. “The accreditation confirms that the Conservancy is protecting Western Pennsylvania’s landscapes at the highest standards required by the Land Trust Alliance.”
Pennsylvania’s first conservancy, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks—including Ohiopyle, McConnells Mill and Moraine—and conserved more than 232,000 acres of natural lands since its inception 80 years ago.
Areas of special focus for the Conservancy over the years have included the Clarion River, where more than 12,000 acres have been protected, and the Laurel Highlands, where close to 82,000 acre have been conserved.
Since the 1960s, WPC has also conserved more than 3,840 acres in the French Creek watershed and 3,800 acres near the Lake Erie coastline. Recently, WPC acquired more than 1,600 acres on Evitts Mountain in Bedford County, Pa. to permanently conserve a major expanse of mountainside forest over a key tributary to the Potomac River.
In addition, the Conservancy‘s Watershed Conservation Program has protected or restored more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. WPC also operates and preserves the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece Fallingwater and enriches the region’s cities and towns through nearly 140 community gardens, tree plantings and other greenspaces.
“It is rare for a land trust to be part of such a multifaceted organization. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to contribute to the region’s quality of life in a variety of ways,” Saunders said.
Accredited land trusts are able to certify to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The Conservancy is one of 158 land trusts nationwide that have been awarded accreditation since the process was initiated in 2008.
“Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever,” said commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “The accreditation seal lets the public know that the accredited land trust has undergone an extensive, external review of the governance and management of its organization and the systems and policies it uses to protect land.”
WPC has been nationally recognized for excellence by other entities, including Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of charities. Since 2008, the Conservancy has received Charity Navigator’s highest (four-star) rating for consistently executing its mission in a fiscally responsible way. The Conservancy is among the top nine percent of charities rated, having received four or more consecutive four-star evaluations.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for permanently protecting important natural places and working lands. The Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance established in 2006, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country.
The Alliance, of which WPC is a member, is a national conservation group based in Washington, D.C. that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 232,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 140 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 13,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 11,000 members. WPC is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy