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Climate Change & Conservation eNews


Sunbeam Over Grassland

Medford Spring Grassland Conservation

“Grasslands store one-third of the Earth’s carbon, and just one acre of grassland can store an estimated 50 tonnes of carbon or more. Yet, in the U.S., over one million acres of grassland are still converted each year, which has the potential to release 50%-70% of the carbon they hold as carbon dioxide (CO₂).

The Medford Spring grasslands in southeastern Colorado are facing an imminent threat of conversion to cropland given its soils are suitable for farming, and cropland rental rates for winter wheat, milo, sorghum, alfalfa, and other row crops, are more than five times pastureland rates in Bent County, CO. A permanent conservation easement will preserve the grasslands and avoid conversion of the land to farming or development. This will prevent an estimated 190,000 tonnes of CO₂ from entering the atmosphere over the next 50 years. This is the equivalent of almost 208 million pounds of coal burned…”

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Golden Grasses
Climate Action Reserve

The Climate Action Reserve

“As the premier carbon offset registry for the North American carbon market, the Climate Action Reserve encourages action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ensuring the environmental integrity and financial benefit of emissions reduction projects.

The Reserve establishes high quality standards for carbon offset projects, oversees independent third-party verification bodies, issues carbon credits generated from such projects and tracks the transaction of credits over time in a transparent, publicly-accessible system.

The Reserve offsets program demonstrates that high-quality carbon offsets foster real reductions in GHG pollution, support activities that reduce local air pollution, spur growth in new green technologies and allow emission reduction goals to be met at lower cost…”

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Hudson Carbon

A new marketplace for carbon capture

Hudson Carbon is an on-farm soil laboratory. We study how organic regenerative farming can maximize carbon capture and restore ecosystems.

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Creative Commons

Cultivating communities where people and nature thrive together

This is an interesting organization that is using an integrated farm project as a tool for change and action. Land trusts across the country could emulate and incorporate some of these ideas into their partnerships and land conservation strategies.

The Community Ecology Institute (CEI’)s Climate of Hope project includes three innovation areas, described below: 1) Climate Aware Agriculture featuring Renewable Energy Integration; 2) Cultivating Climate Victory Gardens; and 3) Community Climate Change Education…

Climate of Hope will offer accessible, science-based, action-focused climate change education for the community. [They] offer eight community events at [their] farm on a range of topics from climate victory gardening (and the associated carbon-capturing practices), to composting, energy efficiency, community solar, and more.

[They] also offer customized offsite presentations to eight diverse community organizations including HOAs, faith organizations, school groups, and businesses. These events will be designed to inspire participants and provide strategies and tools for sustained positive climate action.

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Sustainable Solutions
Creative Commons

Our energy future

Land trusts are recognizing that energy production, and transitioning off fossil fuels, is a key aspect of de-carboning our energy needs; which, in turn, is central to ensuring that the lands and waters we conserve survive for generations to come. That often means new, innovative partnerships.

Driftless Area Land Conservancy [DALC] along with dedicated area activists has created Iowa County CLEA-N, Clean Local Energy Alliance—Now. CLEA-N’s mission is to explore options for and engage in initiatives to advance the local ownership and control of a clean energy future in Iowa County, and to lay the groundwork for the creation of an Energy District through which the vision of that future can be realized.

CLEA-N & DALC—Working Hand-in-Hand on Common Goals

Climate disruption affects every aspect of the work at DALC. CLEA-N’s efforts to lower fossil fuel emissions and to sequester excess atmospheric carbon supports DALC’s land conservation work. As this new organization gets off the ground, DALC will be a significant stabilizing and guiding partner…

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Trees From Below
Judy Anderson

Corporate partnerships in the Family Forest carbon program

The Family Forest Carbon Program, a program created by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, brings together rural family forest owners and companies to address climate change.

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Birds Eye View
© Ian Patterson

Family forests: An untapped powerhouse in climate change mitigation

Natural climate solutions can currently play an important role in slowing down climate change. Yet, too many landowners haven't been part of the financial benefits of participating in carbon forest management. TNC and others are working to change this.

[T]he American Forest Foundation and TNC have partnered to develop the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP) to remove the barriers smaller landowners often face—carbon market access, lack of forest management expertise, and cost—to help them optimize the carbon storage potential of the 290 million acres of privately-owned U.S. forestland.

Meeting that potential requires helping those individuals and families adopt a science-based approach to take advantage of incentives for specific forest management practices that measurably enhance carbon sequestration. It requires engaging local foresters who have decades of experience working with private landowners.

Through sustainable management, landowners can reduce their expenses by as much as 75 percent…

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Art As Activism
Creative Commons

How art can inspire viewers toward climate action

One way to authentically lead in the climate change solution conversation is to consider what people care about—and how they might address climate change on a personal level. Certainly, voting is part of the solution. And, art can help make a case for what's at stake and ideas for action.

Land trusts have long worked with artists to elevate the importance of land and water, and to connect with their community. Current examples abound from local art sales, like the Agricultural Stewardship Association’s art show featuring farms and area landscapes, to the New Canaan Sculpture Trail.

Increasingly, with the growing realization of how climate change is the greatest threat to conservation we have yet seen, land trusts are now working with artists to inspire change and action.

One example is the D&R Greenway Land Trust. Back in 2016, the D&R Greenway Land Trust was in its 27th year of preserving and protecting natural lands, farmlands, and open spaces throughout central and southern New Jersey. Their art partnership was focused on raising the profile of climate change on the lands and waters people love—and the need for action.

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Healthy Soils Grant

There are opportunities to help position farmers and ranchers as part of the climate solution. If your local land trust works with agriculture, now's the time to start thinking about this.

A $2 million grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been awarded to the Vermont Land Trust to help farmers implement practices that enhance the health of their soils. The Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) Program and the On-Farm Trials of NRCS stimulate the adoption and evolution of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with farmers.

The Vermont Land Trust, Biological Capital, and the University of Vermont Extension will work with approximately 25 conserved farms to create, implement, and evaluate practices that enhance the health of soil, including its ability to store carbon. This is the only Vermont-based project to receive CIG funding…

The Vermont Land Trust will provide project oversight, work directly with farmers, and manage…

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Lowell Parks And Conservation Trust
Lowell Land Trust

Climate change forum, October 1st

Land trusts are recognizing that their pledge to conserve land and water necessitates helping the public understand the serious impacts and threats of climate change to their local landscapes. The key, as with all climate communication designed to initiate action, is to face reality and provide hope and solutions.

This small and innovative land trust raising awareness about a climate change forum, hosted by Lowell City of Learning and UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative. The presentation will be led by UMass Lowell faculty. The timing is on pointe as climate change is increasingly on people’s minds. This short, one-hour, virtual event will cover a number of topics including:

  • How are the western US wildfires related to climate change?
  • How will acting on climate change affect the economy?
  • What if we do nothing?
  • What are some of the solutions to climate change that are already here?
  • Are there any solutions that we haven’t heard about yet?
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