The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, has honored Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in Massachusetts with the 2022 National Land Trust Excellence Award.
The National Land Trust Excellence Award recognized Mount Grace for its work in multiple areas, including: ensuring access to affordable farmland through its “whole farm forever” approach that ensures future generations of farmers will have access to all the elements they need including fields, barns, greenhouses and housing; and, collaborating with local Nipmuc partners to co-manage land and assist the Tribe with cultural revitalization. The award was announced during Rally 2022: The National Land Conservation Conference, the nation’s largest gathering of land conservation leaders.
“Over the last few years, Mount Grace has undertaken a journey to explore the organization’s work using an equity-oriented lens,” said Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president and CEO. “They are a model for how land trusts can become more engaged and invested in the communities they serve, incorporate Indigenous input into stewardship plans, and develop partnerships built on mutual trust and respect for the land.”
During the past year, Mount Grace partnered with Nipmuk Cultural Preservation, Inc., and together, they signed a cultural use and respect agreement that “invites Nipmuc citizens to the land and reserves them rights beyond those granted to the general public, such as harvesting food and medicine, camping, and holding ceremonies on the land.” Mount Grace also recently launched a new Climate and Land Justice Program centered on the importance and urgency of climate change and equitable land access for everyone, including farmers of color, who have historically been excluded from equitable land ownership.
“When we protect land, we protect the wildlife connectivity, biodiversity, and good soils. We also protect generational relationships with the land. That’s at the core of Mount Grace’s mission. It’s at the core of very urgent work ahead of us all: not to protect the land from people, but to restore our relationships with the land and each other for a more just and equitable future,” said Emma G Ellsworth, Executive Director at Mount Grace.
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
About the Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents approximately 950-member land trusts supported by more than 250,000 volunteers and 6.3 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.
Watch the video created by LTA to highlight our work during the award ceremony HERE.