West Bend, WI: Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) recently celebrated renewal of its Accreditation Seal by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. This prestigious Accreditation designation has been bestowed upon only about 35% of the more than 1,200 Alliance-member land trusts across America. According to the Accreditation Commission, the Accreditation Seal is awarded to land trusts meeting the highest national standards for operational excellence and conservation permanence.
OWLT first earned its Accreditation Seal in 2013, with renewal extending that initial Accreditation through 2023.
"In the land conservation community, there's a great emphasis on trust, so much so that many of us, including the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, put ‘trust’ right in our name," said Tom Stolp, OWLT Executive Director. "When working with landowners and our members, we're asking them to put a great deal of trust in our organization: trust that we will good stewards of their generous investments and trust that we will be a leader in faithfully tackling our biggest conservation challenges."
For over 26 years, OWLT and its partners and stakeholders have been doing just that, something the Accreditation renewal by Land Trust Alliance celebrates and recognizes. From protecting farm land to addressing climate change; from supporting wildlife habitat to providing opportunity for outdoor recreational traditions like hunting and fishing; from maintaining its 32 (and counting) nature preserves OWLT proudly offers to the public at no cost to protecting the Great Lakes water that so many of our families depend upon for drinking water.
"Most uniquely, our landowners and members expect us to dutifully care for the land and water they've entrusted to Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, forever," said Katie Weber Parrillo, OWLT Program Manager. "That means we are asking folks to trust in something that will outlast all of our lifetimes, and that is a special responsibility we accept."
This extraordinary leap of faith requires more than a promise; it requires independent validation. The old adage of "trust, but verify" comes to mind.
"Our Accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance gives our community instant verification that Ozaukee Washington Land Trust has the financial resources, steady track record, and the visionary leadership to guarantee permanent protection for our community's greatest natural resources," added Stolp.