Conservation foundation earns national land trust accreditation



This month, the Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF) achieved a significant milestone: land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the national Land Trust Alliance.

The accreditation process is challenging.

The commission conducts an eight- to 10-month review of each land trust’s application and uses the process as a tool to help the applying organization fine-tune its policies and streamline its operations to enhance performance, so we are gratified that MCF is the only New Jersey land trust receiving accreditation this year, and only the fourth ever in our state’s history.

MCF also achieves the distinction of being the first county-focused New Jersey land trust to be accredited — the others were larger statewide or regional groups.

MCF now joins a prestigious group of just 254 accredited land trusts in the nation. They are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that their conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.

MCF believes that conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water; safe, healthy food; scenic landscapes and views; recreational places; and habitat for the diversity of life.

In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values near greenbelts, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water filtration facilities.

MCF and community leaders in land trusts throughout Monmouth County have worked with willing landowners to save thousands of acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about, including land transferred to public agencies and protected via other means. Since its founding, Monmouth Conservation Foundation has been steadfast in its overall land preservation mission.

Accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission is an important validation of that mission and of those who have supported MCF — we are pleased to be accredited and to meet the national quality standards established by the land conservation community.

MCF has been preserving land and protecting the natural resources of Monmouth County for more than 36 years.

MCF is Monmouth County’s only countywide land trust and we are extremely proud of the more than 6,500 acres of open space and farmland that we have helped to save.

MCF believes that preservation is no longer about just protecting our land and natural resources, it is also essential to protecting our health and well-being and that of future generations.

Our ongoing charge remains to protect these extraordinary resources and refuges. We have much to do and only a small window of opportunity.

With your help we can continue to move forward on many critical projects that will create new parks, expand recreational resources and preserve farmland throughout Monmouth County.

Monmouth Conservation Foundation’s accredited status demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensuring a permanent legacy of land conservation throughout Monmouth County to benefit all our lives and the lives of generations to come. Our land trust is an even stronger organization today having gone through the rigorous accreditation program.

William Kastning is the executive director of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation.