Mission: The primary mission of the westchester land trust is to conserve, maintain and enhance the natural environment and resources of westchester county. The trust acquires interests in land exhibiting important natural features or values.
Programs: Wlt has preserved almost 8,000 acres of open space, including 29 publicly accessible nature preserves. In 2017 wlt preserved an additional 56 acres, across two projects in westchester county, and continued to move many other projects, totaling over 1,000 acres, closer to completion. - continued on schedule o - in addition to land preservation, wlt is committed to community education about the protection of natural resources, wildlife habitats and sustainable agriculture. Wlt accomplished this through a regular preserve hike series, habitat restoration projects at wlt preserves, and sustainable agriculture programming. In 2017, this included partnerships with organizations such as northern westchester hospital, atmosphere academy, pace university, partnership for regional invasive species management, rippowam cisqua school, the bionutrient food association and the food bank for westchester. Wlt's sugar hill farm is the site of a half-acre organic garden, where vegetables are grown for distribution by the food bank to local food pantries. In its six years, sugar hill farm has produced 55,000 servings of fresh produce for local families in need. Land stewardship is an important component of wlt's mission. Wlt regularly conducts land management and habitat restoration projects on publically accessible lands that it owns or holds conservation easements on. In 2017 these projects were conducted at the westchester wilderness walk/zofnass family preserve, leon levy preserve, frederick p. Rose preserve, otter creek preserve and pine croft meadow preserve. These projects are guided by the management plans that wlt prepares for each of its owned properties, that identify and prioritize stewardship needs for each. These stewardship goals include invasive species removal, native plant restoration, stream bank remediation, forest restoration and meadow restoration. These projects typically involve extensive acreage, and take multiple years to execute. The hudson to housatonic conservation initiative, a two-state initiative initially funded by the us forest service, was successfully transitioned into a regional conservation partnership (known as the h2hrcp) with funding assistance from several private foundations. Wlt, the new york state lead, in partnership with highstead in connecticut, now lead a consortium of over 50 conservation partners. The goal of the h2hrcp is to accelerate the pace of land conservation and stewardship in the region through effective partnering across municipal boundaries.
Westchester Land Trust is an accredited land trust. Accreditation means Westchester Land Trust meets national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. Westchester 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.