This well established conservation organization has remained vibrant - growing and changing as it matures. Nationally accredited for its practices, RLT delivers its mission every day.
RLT has embarked on a major project to establish and promote an urban preserve of 20 acres in South Troy. The project has become a collaborative effort including the donor family, LTA-EPF funding, the City of Troy, the local neighborhood, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, local nurseries and the Capital District Community Gardens. So far we estimate RLT has donated at least 450 hours of volunteer effort to make this preserve available to the community including removal of invasive species and trash, construction of a fence and kiosk and planting of 500 trees and shrubs.
I have been a Board member for several years and have seen the organization go from strength to strength. RLT has articulated a clear mission and built the infrastructure to support it. It has protected over 1,000 acres in Rensselaer County. It has won reaccreditation from the Land Trust Alliance. It has established a core group of committed donors. It has made strategic use of social media. It has added an urban preserve in Troy and collaborated with the Capital District Community Gardens and the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance. It has added popular programs on foraging to its rich array of outings. Although it has only one full-time and one part-time employee, both are extraordinarily talented and dedicated and do tremendous work.
The Rensselaer Land Trust is a small organization with a big impact. With just two (great) part-time staff people, and a core of dedicated volunteers, it promotes the preservation of Rensselaer County's significant natural areas through education, outings, advocacy, and, most important of all, by partnering with landowners to conserve private land and create public preserves. It works to preserve open space for the benefit of city as well as countryside. It is an honor to be associated with this organization.
The Rensselaer Land Trust is working to protect the special places that I know and visit. Rensselaer County has a wealth of natural areas and outdoor recreation sites, but as development slowly increases their future is not guaranteed. RLT works with willing landowners to preserve the natural landscape for future generations. One of their Preserves, for example, is an outstanding wildflower spot and wildlife habitat (we found a turkey nest with eggs there one year), as well as the site of a cave. RLT also sponsors a fantastic schedule of hikes, talks, and other events. As either participant or leader, I've been able to visit natural areas that I wouldn't have know about or been able to visit otherwise. And RLT is now expanding its mission to serve city residents, with its acquisition of its first urban preserve in the City of Troy.
For 18 yrs the Rensselaer Land Trust protected hundreds of acres of watershed in Rensselaer County with 100% volunteers, all the money going to its mission of conserving land and protecting natural resources. In the past 7 yrs of its 25 yr history it has expanded its ability to its mission with 2 part time paid staff members. Some of the land protected is available for public use such as hiking, gardening, and fishing. It also does educational presentations at schools and holds workshops for landowners.