Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Catalyst 2.0 – What’s Next in Protecting Resilient Lands

Blue Ridge Roan of Highlands

Highlands of Roan, NC   


OSI’s Resilient Landscape Initiative assists land trusts in playing a pivotal role in protecting biodiversity as the climate changes. Over the past three years, OSI’s Resilient Landscapes Initiative Catalyst Program has made $150,000 in grants to assist 35 land conservation organizations in the Northeast to protect lands that will remain resilient as the climate changes. Grantees have used these funds to develop a dozen climate-responsive statewide or regional strategic plans across six states. In tandem, OSI has helped to translate climate science for land protection in 30 presentations reaching 1,400 practitioners across the eastern U.S.

In 2016, OSI will broaden and deepen assistance to land trusts through two new partnerships with organizations that have experience in educating and supporting land trusts: the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) and Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC). These partnerships will provide more intensive coaching and mentoring to a select group of mid-capacity land trusts, assisting them in mastering the knowledge and tools for developing climate-responsive conservation plans and building the network needed to sustain this work and ensure impacts on the ground.

Complementing these partnerships, in May OSI plans to release Conserving Nature in a Changing Climate: A Guide for Land Trusts in the Northeast, a how-to guide for applying climate science to land protection. The document is being produced through a science delivery grant from the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Collaborative (NALCC) to translate science for field use. It will be available through the LTA “Conservation in a Changing Climate” website as well as the NALCC and OSI websites.


In New England

Beginning in the spring of 2016, OSI will team up with LTA to offer small and mid-sized land trusts a suite of in-person training and technical assistance:

  • Two workshops will be held in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont to introduce as many as 30 land trusts to climate-responsive conservation planning, including self-assessments and real-world case studies
  • Two land trusts will receive 30-40 hours of one-on-one assistance sessions with a “circuit rider” over the course of one year (recipients will be selected on a competitive basis)
  • Remote “learning circles” will be offered for all interested land trusts, providing mutual support in developing resilience planning strategies


In the Southeast

OSI is partnering with CTNC, one of the leading state land trusts in the South, to make available $90,000 in Catalyst grants for climate-related conservation planning projects throughout North Carolina, along with technical assistance and communication support. Grants are available through the generous support of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and others.


  • CTNC and OSI jointly released a Request for Proposals (RFP) in late February, 2016. The RFP seeks projects from North Carolina land trusts and their partners that integrate climate science into conservation plans. Applications will be due in April and reviewed jointly by CTNC and OSI, with grants to be announced in late spring.
  • CTNC will support grantees in communication and peer learning with a sequential program of webinars and customized mapping assistance to prepare them for effectively using and interpreting the resilience data in their landscapes in North Carolina.
  • OSI released an RFP for Catalyst progress across the Southeast in the spring of 2015. This request is currently closed, although we anticipate funding additional projects beyond North Carolina in the Fall of 2016.







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