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Berks Nature Earns National Recognition

by Berks Nature

Mar 01, 2024

What: Berks Nature earns Land Trust Accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance for its strong commitment to public trust and conservation excellence.

Where: Reading, PA

When: Thursday, Feb. 22

One thing that unites us as a nation is land: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1974, Berks Nature has been doing just that for the people of Berks County and the greater Schuylkill River Watershed. Now, Berks Nature announced that it has achieved national recognition – joining a network of over 450 accredited land trusts across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.

“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.”

Berks Nature 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 Berks Nature’s land will be protected forever.

Accredited land trusts steward almost 20 million acres of land – the size of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island combined.

“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.”

The recognition is aptly timed, coinciding with Berks Nature’s 50th anniversary of protecting and stewarding land in Berks County. In its 50-year tenure serving as the leading agent for the conservation of the environment in Berks County, Berks Nature has conserved just over 10,000 acres of private land under easements and acquired 926 acres of land to manage for wildlife habitat and climate resiliency.

“It is exciting to recognize Berks Nature with this national mark of distinction,” said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the Commission. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 450 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

Berks Nature is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States, according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census. A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

Berks Nature is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization that has been serving the Berks County community since 1974. We believe that nature is essential to our quality of life. Our work centers around this value, from land preservation and trail management, to community gardens and environmental education, to our State of the Environment report and summer Eco-Camp; protecting, stewarding, and connecting people to nature and Berks County’s unique mosaic of natural resources.

We welcome your involvement in many ways! Become a Champion of Nature, Volunteer, make a donation, or attend an upcoming program at The Nature Place. Get involved today; your local action can have a global impact. Visit berksnature.org for more info.

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 info, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

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