A three-year, $225,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation will help the Conservation Trust for North Carolina accelerate land and water protection, providing a strong foundation for healthy communities across the state by supporting, promoting and representing the state’s 23 local land trusts and protecting more land along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
By working with willing landowners to protect their properties, land trusts help protect drinking water supplies, parkland and trails, working farms and forests, wildlife habitat, and other natural areas.
CTNC supports local land trusts by providing grants, making loans for land acquisitions, leading efforts to promote government funding and policy support for conservation, and building public awareness of the benefits of land conservation. CTNC also works directly with landowners to protect properties along the Blue Ridge Parkway’s natural and scenic corridor.
North Carolina’s land trusts have protected more than 340,000 acres in nearly 2,000 places statewide. The grant will allow CTNC to leverage partnerships, develop relationships, lift up model projects, and establish incentive programs to enable the local land trusts to take innovative steps to meet today’s conservation challenges.
Land trusts are increasingly working with banks and the real estate community to protect foreclosed properties that have high conservation value; connecting more people – especially children and their parents – with nature; opening more land trust properties to the public; and creating alliances with people and communities who have not traditionally worked with or been served by land trusts.
“The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation’s generous grant is critical to helping CTNC and the land trust community adopt a new definition of shared success that includes not just acres protected but access for all people to conservation’s benefits,” Associate Director Margaret Newbold said. “The Foundation’s longstanding support of land conservation and building healthy communities has made a tremendous difference in quality of life for all North Carolinians. This grant in particular will allow CTNC to help North Carolina’s land trusts carry out new strategies in land and water protection during challenging economic times.”
The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation was established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest son of the founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and has made grants totaling $484 million to recipients in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. The Foundation currently gives special attention to projects affecting community economic development, the environment, strengthening democracy, pre-collegiate education, and social justice and equity.