The Land Trust Alliance has long recognized the connection between land conservation and public health and wellness. The belief that land can help people, places and communities thrive is a foundational principle of land conservation and the work of many people who dedicate their lives to saving land for future generations. To be strong and durable, land conservation must be inclusive and serve a broad range of community needs. People with disabilities have the same desire to enjoy nature and reap its health and well-being benefits as people without disabilities. Land trusts are taking hold of an opportunity today to provide better access for all, recognizing approximately 1 out of every 4 adults in the U.S. lives with disability.
To support land trusts to adopt inclusive practices that benefit people with disabilities, the Land Trust Alliance collaborated with the Lakeshore Foundation and the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability to create the Partnership for Inclusive Health.
In late 2020, the Land Trust Alliance surveyed its land trust members on their experiences with people with disabilities, and on access and inclusion issues. The survey showed that both the need and will to make programs more accessible are there, but that land trusts were looking for “guidelines and/or best practices for inclusion” and “examples of inclusion efforts from other land trusts.”
Created in 2021, Open to All: A Disability Inclusion Guide for Land Trusts provides concrete steps to expand a land trust’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts with an emphasis on people with disabilities. As requested, this includes examples, advice and guidelines to help your land trust address and remove the barriers that prevent inclusion of people with disabilities in your programs and on your nature preserves.
By the time you finish reading this guide, we hope you will understand the principles of inclusion that you can integrate personally and professionally, with the knowledge that nature is for everyone.
The Partnership formed the Land Trust Alliance Advisory Council on Inclusive Health and Disabilities, which includes leaders from various disability sectors and the conservation community. The Council amplifies the voices, knowledge and lived experience of leaders in the inclusive health and disability sectors and builds the capacity of the Alliance and its members to design and implement successful community-centered conservation models.Read a letter from the Council
Special thanks to Land Trust Alliance Advisory Council on Inclusive Health and Disabilities: