PCLT & Oblong Land Conservancy Receive “Catalyst” Grant

Local Conservation Groups Benefit from State Conservation Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced in April that $1.4 million in Conservation Partnership Program grant money would go to 50 non-profit land trusts across the State.  Both the Oblong Land Conservancy (OLC), based in Pawling/Dover, and the Putnam County Land Trust (PCLT), based in Patterson, are beneficiaries of this program.

Representatives of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Land Trust Alliance unveiled the grantees at an event at Indian Ladder Farms in Albany County as part of a weeklong celebration of Earth Day. The grants, supported with funding from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will be matched by nearly $1.1 million in private and local funding and will support projects to protect farmland, enhance public access and recreational opportunities, and conserve open space.  The NYSCPP is administered by the Land trust Alliance in coordination with the DEC.

Funding for priority conservation projects and land trust initiatives around the state will help communities protect water quality, wildlife habitat, community gardens, working forests and farmland.  The Conservation Partnership Program funding will also enhance public access to trails and other recreation areas while enabling land trusts to implement best practices, hire professional staff, and strengthen community partnerships.

The Oblong Land Conservancy (OLC) and the Putnam County Land Trust (PCLT) jointly applied for a Catalyst Grant the purpose of which is to “catalyze” local and regional partnerships and community initiatives that will lead to greater engagement in, and increased public support for, the protection and stewardship of environmentally significant lands. Conservation Catalyst projects involve a measure of innovation for land trusts, should engage multiple partners and stakeholders, have clearly defined outcomes, and advance the land trusts’ missions, strategic goals, and programs. Funded projects typically involve collaboration with local municipalities, other land trusts, or other conservation partners.  Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS) will also be a key participant in the project, one of the aims of which is to build on the work that FrOGS has undertaken in conserving large areas of the Great Swamp.

The grant of $15,000 is to be matched by contributions of $2,500 each from OLC and PCLT and has a time horizon of two years.

OLC is an all-volunteer organization based in Pawling that undertakes conservation in the greater Harlem Valley.  It was founded in 1990 and now has approximately 1,100 acres under stewardship.

PCLT is an all-volunteer organization based in eastern Putnam County.  Its mission is to preserve and maintain for the public, open spaces and the natural resources within, for the purpose of conservation, education and recreation. PCLT’s fee properties total 1034 acres and it holds easements on another 138 acres.

Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS) is an all-volunteer conservation organization dedicated to protecting and promoting stewardship of New York’s  Great Swamp. FrOGS pursues this mission through Education, Scientific Research, and direct Conservation Action.  They provide science based information for local issues and focus on protecting habitat and species of conservation concern through collaborative coalitions with other organizations.