The Conservancy protects more than 5,000 acres in preserves and 900 acres in conservation easements. Our goals include:
- Ensure land trust standards and practices are met as an accredited land trust
- Enhance the conservation values of ecosystems we protect for outdoor recreation, scientific research, and public use.
- Serve as the external lead for the Susquehanna Riverlands Conservation Landscape guiding strategic decisions in the region.
Once the Conservancy acquires land, stewardship begins immediately and continues in perpetuity!
Active stewardship of each property begins in collaboration with land protection by providing assessments based on research, observation, and analysis. This data confirms the intention behind an acquisition and informs how we manage the land. Once the parcel becomes a preserve we mark boundaries, post the property with rules and regulations, and develop a management plan.
A management plan considers the intent of the property and ensures protection of its conservation values including soil, water, habitat, unique ecological or historic features or functions, and recreation purposes. The plan serves to balance the public-use of the preserve with its conservation values. Routine maintenance is set in motion. The plan is implemented. The results are monitored. Revisions are made. And on and on it goes… forever.
While some stewardship activities like trail clearing or trash removal make an obvious impact on a preserve, other activities are not as apparent. The outcome of planning and work we do today will not be fully seen for years or even decades. Whether we’re removing invasive plants, restructuring trails to prevent erosion or restoring habitat, we are undertaking projects for the benefit of future generations.
The Conservancy relies on a full spectrum of skill-sets through paid staff, interns, and volunteers, to steward and protect land:
- Hands-on preserve maintenance like removing trees, maintaining existing buildings or creating new parking or trails on priority preserves
- Developing maps using GIS to identify and guide conservation areas and trail development
- Forestry services to evaluate and manage the health of our forests
- Seasonal land stewards to support routine maintenance and projects
- Engaging volunteers to help with work days to plant trees, build new kiosks, or other tasks
- Fostering stewardship of land and water resources through community partners and the Conservancy’s Interpretive Ranger, Water Quality Volunteer Coalition, Tree Tenders, and Community Wildlife Habitat Programs.
The needs of wildlife habitat and public lands are too great to manage with limited staff. The Conservancy’s staff, interns, and volunteers work hand-in-hand to protect and steward our natural areas. We can’t do it alone and need your ongoing support!