Land trusts are non-profit, non-governmental conservation organizations that actively work to protect natural resources through partnerships with public and private landowners. These community-based organizations are run by local people having a shared passion for preserving their communities’ natural heritage. Land Trusts are created to protect land and water resources for the benefit of the public.
Land trusts can be local, regional, statewide or even national in focus, i.e. The Nature Conservancy. They are funded largely through membership dues and private gifts, although some state and federal grants may be available for land preservation projects. Land trusts vary in size and most are staffed by volunteers, although some organizations maintain professional staff.
The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust employs six staff members at it’s West Bend headquarters in the West Bend Depot. This dedicated group is supported by part time help, consultants, interns, and an army of volunteers. The trust could not achieve all that it envisions without these inspired and committed conservation minded individuals. The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust has a active Board of Directors who are instrumental in guiding the organization.
More than 4 million acres have been protected by some 1,300 land trusts nationwide. Wisconsin is home to approximately 55 land trusts that have protected about 250,000 acres of forests, wetlands, wildlife habitat, river corridors and open space. For more information about other Wisconsin land trusts outside the Ozaukee Washington County area, contact Gathering Waters Conservancy, Inc.
Gathering Waters Conservancy is a land conservation organization formed in 1995 to assist land trusts, landowners and communities in their efforts to protect Wisconsin's land and water resources. Established by a coalition of land trusts, Gathering Waters serves as an education and technical assistance center for land trusts and landowners alike. Gathering Waters also works directly with concerned landowners and existing land trusts statewide to preserve Wisconsin's natural heritage and rural landscape. To learn more about Gathering Waters, see their website at www.gatheringwaters.org.