WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, today honored Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in Massachusetts with our 2022 National Land Trust Excellence Award.
Announced during Rally 2022: The National Land Conservation Conference, the nation’s largest gathering of land conservation leaders, the National Land Trust Excellence Award recognized Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust 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 both farmland and farm infrastructure, collaborating with local Nipmuc partners to co-manage land and assisting the Tribe with cultural revitalization.
“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, especially BIPOC farmers.
“When we protect land, we protect the wildlife connectivity, biodiversity and good soils,” said Emma G. Ellsworth, executive director at Mount Grace. “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.”
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.
About Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust
Founded in 1986, Mount Grace benefits the environment, the economy, and future generations by protecting significant agricultural, natural, and scenic lands and encouraging land stewardship in northern and central Massachusetts. Mount Grace collaborates with a wide range of conservation agencies, organizations, and individuals, concentrating on the benefits of reciprocally sharing resources and knowledge from diverse backgrounds to achieve landscape-scale conservation and site-appropriate land stewardship. More information is available at www.mountgrace.org.