Wednesday, September 16, 2020

PA Land Trust Assn. Changes Name To WeConservePA To Better Reflect Their Mission

On September 16, PA Land Trust Association Executive Director Andy Loza announced PALTA is changing its name to WeConservePA to better reflect the mission of its member organizations.
"On June 30, 2020, the member organizations of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association voted to change the Association’s name to WeConservePA. Why the change?
“The name concisely states what the directors, committee members, and staff of the organization endeavor to accomplish; the work of member land trusts, open space programs, environmental advisory councils, trail groups, and other conservation organizations engaged with and supported by WeConservePA; and the motivation for the individual persons supporting WeConservePA.
“The name is brief—five syllables—and memorable. It stands out from the vast array of organizations that include “association” and “Pennsylvania” in their name and vie for attention in Harrisburg. 
“It also stands out from the names of all the organizations on whose behalf WeConservePA advocates.”
A Broadening Scope of Purpose and Activities
“In 1995, land trust leaders established the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, a sensible name in that the organization was governed by land trusts and solely focused on helping land trusts.
“The organization’s focus would broaden in the new millennium. The organization’s mission stretched to include helping anyone advancing land conservation—land trusts, local government, state or federal government. 
“The organization’s work, once confined to supporting acquisition of land and easements for conservation purposes, expanded to include promoting sustainable land use and connecting people to the outdoors.
“On the public policy front, the organization focused on passage of the Conservation and Preservation Easements Act until it achieved enactment in June 2001. 
Since then, the organization has advocated fruitfully for many public policies that support conservation acquisition endeavors. 
Its advocacy also reached into new territory, the organization leading or co-leading successful efforts to:
-- Extend Growing Greener to support a variety of environmental investments,
-- Stop the expansion of federal eminent domain powers for high voltage lines,
-- Protect State Forests from a drilling free-for-all,
-- Stop the “sell-parks-for-cash” bill,
-- Expand injury liability protections for those opening their land to the public, and
-- Pursue court decisions ensuring that lands dedicated to the public trust remain in the public trust.
“Other notable examples of expansion of the organization’s breadth include publication of the Model Trail Easement (2007), PA Land Choices land use curriculum for schools (2009), Universal Access Trails and Shared Use Paths (2014), and a host of land use planning guides resulting in an award from the PA Chapter of the American Planning Association (2014). 
“The organization also took on facilitation of the Environmental Advisory Council Network (2013) and management of the Growing Greener Coalition (2018).
“Each of these expansions of mission—each of these new activities and endeavors—were added subsequent to the deliberation and decision-making of land trust leaders, who make up most of the organization’s policy advisory committee and board of directors.
“These land trust leaders also came to see that a name change might be appropriate, both to reflect who the organization had become and where it is going.”
Board Chair Kimberly Murphy
“We Conserve PA. Never before has our association had such a simple message. A message that describes what each and every one of us strive to accomplish every day. 
“Land trusts conserve PA as do other friends of conservation who support and are supported by the association: individual persons, municipal open space programs, environmental advisory councils, trail groups, and other conservation organizations. WeConservePA.
“YOU—collectively, “WE”—still have lots of work to do to help the Keystone state be the best it can be.  
“WeConservePA will continue to help people conserve the lands needed for healthy, prosperous, and secure communities—the forests, farms, parks, urban gardens and other green places that safeguard our drinking water, prevent flooding, protect wildlife, provide recreational and economic opportunities, and preserve scenic beauty and community treasures. 
“We will accomplish this by helping nonprofits and local governments improve their effectiveness and efficiency in acquiring and stewarding land and easements, advancing sustainable land use practices, connecting people to the outdoors, and doing more for a better tomorrow.”
For more information, visit the WeConservePA website.
(Photo: The WeConservePA’s logo features a stylized cone of the eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), Pennsylvania’s official state tree.
The shade-tolerant hemlock grows naturally in every Pennsylvania county but especially on relatively moist ridges, ravines, and hillsides. Vast numbers of towering, centuries-old eastern hemlocks greeted colonial settlers.
The hemlock’s dense evergreen branches shelter a variety of forest songbirds, and its seeds provide food for the birds and other wildlife. Its deep shade keeps streams cool. Its wood is used for general construction, crates, and paper pulp.
The hemlock cone is small—less than an inch long—but, from its tiny seeds, mighty trees grow. The state’s tallest hemlock today rises 148 feet in Cook Forest State Park.)
[Posted: Sept. 16, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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