Conservation Expertise Recognized across the East Coast
May 19, 2016 -
OSI's expertise and leadership on a range of issues facing the conservation
community was on display as staff fanned out across the eastern US this spring.
In addition to an event featuring Academy Award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo, OSI
staffers shared insights from climate change to community forests in presentations
and panels from North Carolina, Alabama and New York.
At the 2016 New York Land Conservation Summit (May 4-6), hosted by OSI along
with the Land Trust Alliance and other conservation partners, OSI staffers
served as panelists and presenters. Joe Martens, OSI Senior Fellow and former
DEC Commissioner for the State of New York, spoke about how land trusts can
engage in a clean energy future, while OSI’s Director of Research Abby Weinberg
spoke about integrating climate science into land protection priorities.
Jennifer Melville, OSI Vice President of Conservation Grants & Loans,
shared lessons learned from OSI’s Community Forest Fund. This year’s Summit, held every second year,
welcomed approximately 350 people representing more than 100 land trusts and
conservation organizations from across the state.
May 9, in Philadelphia, at a screening of A Watershed Moment—a film
produced by the William Penn Foundation and OSI—OSI’s President and CEO Kim
Elliman introduced Academy Award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo, a passionate supporter of clean water and the Delaware River Watershed Initiative.
Through its Delaware Watershed Protection Fund, OSI is helping to protect 14,000 acres of important watershed lands in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, protecting drinking water downstream for lives and livelihoods.
Mark spent the day in Philadelphia in discussion with the Watershed non-profit groups, helped monitor a stream, and participated in a panel discussion for the film in the evening. Peter Howell was there and gives the details of the day here.
At the federal Forest Legacy Program’s annual meeting in
Asheville, North Carolina (May 2-6), Peter Howell spoke about OSI’s support for forest
conservation. Since 1992, OSI has been involved in conserving a third of
the 3 million acres protected nationwide with funding from Forest Legacy,
community projects in northern New England, through OSI’s Community Forest Fund.
In Birmingham, Alabama, Jennifer Melville teamed up with Joel
Hauser of the Land Trust for Tennessee (LTTN), in a session on the ecosystem climate resilience at the Land Trust Alliance’s Southeastern Conference (May 11-13). She
essential role that land trusts play in helping wildlife, plants and people
cope with the stresses of an unpredictable and changing climate. OSI is working in the Southeast to support conservation of ecologically resilient land
in four focus
areas and to help land trusts, such as
LTTN, incorporate climate science in
Abby Weinberg traveled Pennsylvania and northern New England on May 16,
participating on a National Park Service-run panel on climate change in the
Delaware Water Gap. While climate change threatens several
species of birds, as well as hemlocks and native trout in the Delaware Water
Gap National Recreation Area, the 69,000-acre park contains highly “resilient”
characteristics, including slopes, valleys and cliffs, with varying temperature
and moisture, that should enable many species of plants and animals to adapt
and find refuge, according to Weinberg.
OSI, which found that almost 60% of the park was resilient, has
helped to facilitate the addition of more than 700 acres of “resilient” lands
to the park in the past year.
Weinberg also presented on resilience and watershed protection in State College
at the Pennsylvania Association of Land Trusts (May 19-21), discussing a new map-based tool
for evaluating water quality in the Delaware River Basin and leading a
session on climate change and resilience.
Looking forward, Weinberg will wrap up the month with two
day-long workshops on climate resilience that will be offered in Wiscasset, ME,
and New London, NH, in partnership with Jane’s Trust Foundation, the Land Trust
Alliance and others.
Sign up for upcoming workshops with Abby Weinberg on how land trusts can take the lead on climate change in New Hampshire on May 25 and in Maine on May 24.