At a time of political change, one thing is clear and consistent: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love.

Since 1985, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has been doing just that for the people of Brunswick, Topsham, and Bowdoin. In 2012, the Land Trust was one of the first in the state to apply for and be awarded national Land Trust Accreditation. Now, five years later, the land trust announced that it has successfully renewed its accreditation – proving once again that, as part of a network of 398 accredited land trusts across the nation, it is committed to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in its conservation work.

“Re-accreditation is an affirmation of how we have matured as an effective and responsible land trust that can be trusted in the communities we serve,” said Brad Babson, BTLT Board President.

Emily Swan, Secretary of the Board, noted that “achieving accreditation is a lot of hard work for any land trust, but it means so much more than just being able to slap the Land Trust Accreditation Commission seal on our website and publications. All the policies and systems we put in place in order to achieve accreditation have made the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust a stronger, more sustainable organization, and have enormously increased our capacity to serve our local communities.”

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust provided extensive documentation and underwent a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation renewal process. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded the renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that BTLT properties will be conserved forever.

Accredited land trusts must renew every five years, confirming their compliance with national quality standards and providing continued assurance to donors and landowners of their commitment to forever steward their land and easements. Almost 20 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust. BTLT has conserved over 2,700 acres to date.

“It is exciting to recognize the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Accredited land trusts are united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. Accreditation recognizes the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the most recent National Land Trust Census, released in December 2016 by the Land Trust Alliance. This comprehensive report highlights the significant achievements made by the nation’s 398 accredited land trusts:

• Accredited land trusts have steadily grown and now steward almost 80 percent of conservation lands and easements held by all land trusts.

• Accredited land trusts protected five times more land from 2010 to 2015 than land trusts that were not accredited.

• Furthermore, accreditation has increased the public’s trust in land conservation, which has helped win support for federal, state and local conservation funding measures.

A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits are detailed at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.