Conserving the farms, forests, and open spaces of the Shenandoah Valley since 1990, Valley Conservation Council (VCC) has helped protect tens of thousands of acres and countless miles of rivers and streams. VCC recently received word that it has achieved national recognition – joining a network of over 400 accredited land trusts across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.
“Accreditation is a huge step forward for our organization and for the valley,” said Scott Kelly, VCC’s acting executive director. “Our region is an amazing place to live, to work, and to play. With this new recognition and nearly three decades of conservation experience under our belt, we’re better positioned than ever to protect the lands and waters that make it so special.”
Valley Conservation Council provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation, signifying its confidence that VCC has responsible governance, exemplifies ethical conduct, is on sound financial footing, and that its lands will be protected forever. Accredited land trusts steward nearly 20 million acres of land –ten times the combined size of Shenandoah National Park, George Washington National Forest, and Jefferson National Forest.
Touting other recent accomplishments such as doubling the acreage it stewards in 2018 and receiving a $200,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help protect the valley’s waterways, Valley Conservation Council is a driving force of conservation in both the Shenandoah Valley and in the mountains to its west. Lands recently protected by the organization include a farm within sight of House Mountain, a dairy in Augusta County, an equestrian facility along the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, and Fort Lewis Lodge in Bath County.
“It is exciting to recognize Valley Conservation Council with this national mark of distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 400 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”
Valley Conservation Council is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census. A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
“Being nationally accredited is an exciting achievement for our organization! It’s been my privilege to assist VCC in the preservation of farms, forests, open spaces and cultural heritage in Botetourt and the other counties we serve,” Upper James Program Manager at the Valley Conservation Council Genevieve Goss said.