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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Rensselaer Land Trust Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Land Resources Conservation

Mission: The mission of the rensselaer land trust is to conserve the open spaces, watersheds and natural habitats of rensselaer county for the benifit of our communities and future generations.

Geographic areas served: Rensselaer County, New York

Programs: Easements: a large part of the organizations activities involves negotiations between governmental and private parties to establish easements within rensselaer county. These efforts result in land easements, providing public fishing access and preservation of water quality non-point pollution sources. The primary costs associated with these undertakings has been the time invested by our executive director and staff.

wetlands and forest protection: rlt works together with private landowners and municipalities on wetlands and forest protection initiatives. We also hold in fee nature preserves composed of forests and wetlands. One of our priorities is watershed protection. Our work in protecting drinking water quality and quantity focuses on protecting and conserving wetlands and forest areas that filter and buffer drinking water sources, insulate the larger landscape from flooding, provide public recreational opportunities, and protect wildlife habitats and wildlife diversity. Additionally, we work to protect forestland as working forests. Quality drinking water, wetlands and forest lands are vital to the health and welfare of rensselaer county.

land stewardship: maintained properties and easements on approximately 790 acres of conservation land in rensselaer county.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Land_Trust_Accreditation_Commission

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rensselaer Land Trust is an accredited land trust. Accreditation means Rensselaer Land Trust meets national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. Rensselaer Land Trust has demonstrated to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission its commitment to excellence. Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. These land trusts demonstrate their commitment to excellence by adopting Land Trust Standards and Practices, the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust, and meeting the accreditation requirements drawn from them. Learn More: http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/about.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rensselaer Land Trust conserves land and natural treasures and is accredited by its national organization. Many folks volunteer and take part. It is small but mighty and has done great work! I'm proud to be part of it.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a donor to Rensselaer Land Trust and a volunteer. Rensselaer Land Trust not only preserves land for future generations, it provides a sense of community and love for the land through hikes and other activities. The organization does a great deal with very little money. I highly recommend it for recognition.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became a Board member in 2012 after being a donor for many years. I am very glad that I did! The organization is growing in a responsible manner and fulfilling its mission to preserve Rensselaer County open spaces and to entice the public to use and appreciate them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has gone great lengths to help the community and the environment. Besides hosting great events, workshops, and meetings, the Rensselaer Land Trust has been helping land owners preserve their property for over 25 years. This past year (2014) was exceptionally exciting because RLT reached over 1,000 acres of conservation in Rensselaer County. I'm happy to be involved in this organization and recommend it to any nature lovers in the area.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Rensselaer Land Trust for a little over a year as a volunteer and have found the staff, board, volunteers, and donors to be active, committed, and dedicated to the agency's mission . Preservation of lands and water and improvement of access have been ongoing accomplishments by this energetic and committed group. The organization strives to reach out to the public to provide opportunities to get involved and learn of resources offered in Rensselaer County lands.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1 Phil23

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Much of the Rensselaer plateau is forgotten, abandoned, and abused. As the Moose seeks it's home there, so do developers wishing to profit from selling homes to people from nearby cities. This of course, places pressure on the entire eco and infrastructure. The Rensselaer Land Trust is an important advocate to maintain a degree of balance in a situation essential to preservation of these
lands for the future.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The RLT is a clearing house for ideas and news about land conservation efforts in Rensselaer County. It serves a function that the State and the County have failed to fulfill. It organizes hikes and focuses attention on the natural resources of the county. It does useful work.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

I have been involved as a donor, officer and board member with the Rensselaer Land Trust for over twenty years from its founding through December 2010 when I resigned due to a job relocation. In that time the organization has grown tremendously and matured. The RLT works to preserve the lands of Rensselaer County, to protect habitat, preserve fields, forests and watersheds though easements with landowners and in so doing, it promotes environmental awareness through public outings and outreach efforts. A land trust has the responsibility to steward its easements in perpetuity and early on, we recognized the importance of stewardship by allocating 10% of income to a reserve fund set aside for that purpose. The board takes their responsibility seriously and the RLT became accredited, the smallest land trust to do so, by the Land Trust Alliance. The RLT's dedicated board serves voluntarily, though its staff is paid.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am 15+-year member and former board member and have seen (and hope helped) the Rensselaer Land Trust work to achieve its mission. The organiztion has achieved accreditation, increased the number of acres of land to be conserved/protected through easements, heightened local awareness of significant natural resources such as the Tomhannock Reservoir watershed, expanded public programs that encourage an appreciation of our natural environment, and earned increased support in the forms of grants, donations, and corporate gifts. The organization, while yet relying greatly on volunteer effort, has accquired several paid positions over the last 6-7 years. The Rensselaer Land Trust cooperates with and supports the work of many organiztions having similar objectives such as the Ag Stewardship Association and the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance. We are important to the long-range goal of keeping Rensselaer County a great place to live and work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to the RLT for many years and recently started volunteering. I decided to volunteer because the group is dedicated to preserving land near my home and because the group and the executive director appoach this task in such a positive way. The complexity of land donation, conservation easements, opening natural areas to the public and managing an organization with limited funds is challenging. This group takes on these challenges with open heartedness and intelligence and a friendly smile.

Linda73

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband, Drew, and I are also donors to this wonderful Land Trust. The benefits to the land and to the people of Rensselaer County cannot be extolled enough. The projects are many and we cannot thank enough the people who work these events, who plan these events and those who do all the "behind the scenes" work. Every person in our County should be ever grateful for this Trust saving our land for future generations. We also thank those who donate land to this Trust.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

william.niemi

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Rensselaer Land Trust is a small, mostly volunteer organization that has done an outstanding job preserving green space in Rensselaer County, NY. Last year I and other members and friends cleaned up around a local reservoir, planted trees on a Trust owned property on a beautiful rural river and cleaned up a private dump on a newly purchased property on a lovely trout stream. I have also volunteered to be a Land Steward at another Trust forever-wild site. The Trust has a variety of educational and recreational programs, as well. I very much enjoyed the hike to learn about forest wildflowers presented by a local veterinarian last year, for example.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Rensselaer Land Trust not only preserves areas that are unique, sensitive, or otherwise of historic, archaeologic, or agriculturally significant, they use these spaces for educating the public about its mission about the natural habitat of that particular area. They sponsor day trips that are designed to enlighten and inform using the significant features of the preserved area and the expertise of its members. The best method to gain support for RLT and its mission is through education.

Donor

Rating: 5

I recently had the good fortune to meet and get to know RLT's Executive Director, Christine Young, along with members of its Board and staff. From our initial meeting throughout the process of my donating a significant parcel of land to the RLT, the experience was nothing short of terrific. I found the RLT people to be honest to deal with, earnest in their mission and thoroughly professional in all aspects of our dealings. In addition, they're just nice folks to get to know. From my perspective as a land donor, I highly recommend the RLT as a great partner and beneficiary of any similar transaction.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had a great time with RLT. Every outing the group has is educational and fun, and makes a large difference in the local community. I can't wait to do more work with this group.

Donor

Rating: 5

A great local non-profit that was entirely volunteer for the first 20 years of its existence. RLT has protected almost 1000 acres of Rensselaer County, NY using both easements and purchase. It has outstanding community outreach programs. It has been accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, one of the smallest land trusts in the country to receive this designation. Its Board members are hard-working volunteers with both passion and skill.

Review from Guidestar