This program of the Land Trust Alliance is designed to help land trusts ensure the permanency of their work by understanding and identifying risks and assessing current risk management strategies. The Alliance has implemented this program in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine, in partnership with the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition and the Maine Land Trust Network.

Risk often carries a negative connotation—we want to avoid risk in situations that could lead to a bad outcome—but risk can also be thought of in terms of opportunity as well. It isn’t bad or good – it is about situations where the outcome is unknown, and levels of risk can correlate with degrees of predictability.

This program considers the risks land trusts may want to consider, like the risk of:

  • A visitor getting hurt on a trail or a volunteer injuring themselves with a chainsaw

  • Insufficient funding or lack of board member involvement to sustain the organization

  • A conservation easement violation or trespass on a fee property

  • Conservation values changing due to climate change, invasive species or development

  • Reputational decline due to conservation easement incentive abuse or poor land management

  • Exploring a collaboration with an aligned group

  • Hiring a staff person or finding an office space

Through this program, land trusts participate in virtual learning sessions focused on governance, finance, land transactions and stewardship, as well as communications and programs. In addition, land trusts work with a consultant to complete an organizational risk assessment to understand their specific risks as well as to create a work plan with short and long term activities. In some cases, grant funding is available to help land trusts begin implementing the strategies outlined in their plan. The Alliance is also building on this programming to provide additional support to land trusts on activities identified in their risk assessments.

Thank you

The cost of delivering this program is generously underwritten by an anonymous donor to the Land Trust Alliance, The Peter & Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, Sharpe Family Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation and The Fieldstone Foundation.

If you’re interested in participating in this program, or supporting this work, please reach out.

Jen Plowden

New England Program Manager