Accreditation: National Recognition
“The Land Trust of the Mississippi Coastal Plain accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire Coastal area,” said Board President Jon Bond.
“The accreditation process has helped the Land Trust be the robust and sustainable organization needed to meet its conservation mission,” stated Bond. “Strong, well-managed land trusts provide our communities with effective champions and caretakers of critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.”
The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, Mississippi’s first accredited land trust, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 th at protects, conserves and protects forests, fresh water resources, and wildlife habitat in six Gulf Coast counties. Over 6,700 acres have been conserved to date.
In the United States, local citizens and communities have come together to form more than 1,700 land trusts to save the places they love. The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain is one of only 201 land trusts from across the country that have been awarded accreditation.
“We are proud to display the accreditation seal,” stated Executive Director Judy Steckler. “Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. It is a mark of distinction in land conservation.”
Community leaders hailed the Land Trust’s achievement:
“As a community we are all proud of the work being done by the Land Trust and this new recognition is well deserved. The Land Trust truly adds to the quality of life along the Gulf Coast by preserving our natural areas and providing parks, trails, and greenways for our families to enjoy,” said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran.
“People are drawn to the Gulf Coast area because of its lush landscapes, beaches and rivers, and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain is critical in ensuring these vistas and ecologically sensitive areas will be enjoyed by future generations. It is an honor for the Land Trust to be recognized and validated for their outstanding work in conservation. We are most fortunate to have their advocacy in our community,” stated Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes.
“Congratulations on this tremendous accomplishment! This accreditation is a testament to the outstanding work done by the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, improving our quality of life and preserving our land and waterways for our citizens,” said Biloxi Mayor A. J. Holloway.
“Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that, at the time of accreditation, land trusts meet high standards for quality and that the results of their conservation work are permanent,” said Executive Director, Judy Steckler.
Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Steckler. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”
Conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water; safe, healthy food; scenic landscapes and views; recreational places; and habitat for the diversity of life on earth. In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values near greenbelts, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water filtration facilities.