The Hub

This contest is all about discovering what land means to you. How being connected to the land is more than a luxury - it's a necessity.

It's also about land trusts. Land trusts are local organizations that save land in their community. Many land trusts are cherished institutions that make their communities vibrant places to live, work and play. In order to be that incredible resource for their community, land trusts engage with people from all walks of life to find out what they need for a better quality of life, and then use their mission of land conservation to address what they can. We call that community conservation.

The goal of community conservation is for land trusts to be more inclusive organizations that gain the respect and support of their community by ensuring people from all walks of life directly benefit from land trust work and programming while making their communities better places to live, work and play. 

Along with this video contest, we are re-launching the Community Conservation Learning Network. The Network is a public place to share ideas, post stories and ask questions about how land trusts are being more inclusive and serving more people with their conservation work and programming.  There are lots of case stories there about community conservation programs and projects around the country, as well as resources you can use to learn more about community conservation. 

Stories

Here are a few stories about how land trusts are connecting people to the land and to each other. You can find more about these stories and many others on the Community Conservation Learning Network.

Last Chance for an Education

There was no way Joe Cerrone was going to graduate, at least from the looks of things his junior year. “I wasn’t really about sitting in the classroom and listening to someone lecture you,” he says. Joe arrived at a nature preserve owned by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust in Maine in 2012, as part of an alternative education program for high schoolers who weren’t thriving in mainstream classrooms. There were 14 boys, recalls Leia Lowery, the trust’s director of education. They didn’t know each other well and they weren’t used to spending their days outdoors. They didn’t like coming out in any weather, on cold and wet days as well as pleasant ones. They kept their hoodies up and their headphones in. “I joked that they hated school, they hated belts — they hated everything other than their phones,” Leia says. More

The Transformative Power of Nature

Nature makes people feel better! Time outdoors leads to better fitness, less stress, improved attention, heightened creativity, and even a sense of spiritual connection Healthy communities do not happen by accident. They are created by the power of choice — the collaborative choices and decisions of all their citizens. The Big Sur Land Trust believes that by working together, individuals, community leaders, nonprofit organizations — such as land trusts — and government agencies can build healthy and thriving communities now and for the future.

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles through the Outdoors

Working in the shadow of one of the best medical facilities in the country — in a county with some of the worst health statistics in the nation — Dr. Mark Wilson, director of the Jefferson County Department of Health in Birmingham, Alabama, knew he needed to focus on prevention. At the University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital, doctors could fix people if they got sick, but Wilson knew the key was to stop people from getting sick in the first place. The people of Birmingham needed to get outside and get active. Wendy Jackson, executive director of the Freshwater Land Trust, also knew the importance of outdoor physical activity and had been spreading that message when she met with Wilson at the health department. This partnership led to other partnerships with like-minded organizations and resulted in the development of a 750-mile master plan for a network of greenways, bike and pedestrian paths and trails to improve the environmental, economic and social well-being of the community while promoting healthy lifestyles.