Land Trust Alliance Honors Lillian “Ebonie” Alexander of North Carolina’s Black Family Land Trust, Massachusetts’ Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust with National Awards
The Land Trust Alliance is proud to honor Ebonie Alexander of the Black Family Land Trust with the distinguished Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award and Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in Massachusetts with our 2022 National Land Trust Excellence Award.
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, has presented Ebonie Alexander the distinguished Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award and honored Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in Massachusetts with our 2022 National Land Trust Excellence Award.
The Kingsbury Browne award, presented during Rally 2022: The National Land Conservation Conference, honors those who have enriched the conservation community through their outstanding leadership, innovation and creativity in land conservation. Named for the conservationist who inspired the Alliance’s founding in 1982, the award ranks among the organization’s highest honors.
Ms. Alexander is the executive director of the Black Family Land Trust in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is the first person of color to serve on the board of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and currently sits on the board of the Virginia United Land Trusts — a coalition of land trusts in Virginia — as well as American Farmland Trust.
“Ebonie is a leader in a space where she had to be a true pioneer and innovator,” said Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president and CEO. “Those qualities have allowed her to be the driving force behind innovative programs and state policy changes in support of landowners who have historically been overlooked. She has moved land conservation beyond its traditional boundaries. And with this award and fellowship, Ebonie will continue to inspire us.”
Alexander will serve as the Kingsbury Browne Fellow for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for 2022-2023. Kingsbury Browne fellows engage in research, writing and mentoring, and facilitate a project that builds upon and shares their experience with the broader community.
“Ebonie Alexander is a remarkable and passionate leader in the vanguard of efforts to protect open space, working farms, and diverse cultural heritage for generations to come,” said Jim Levitt, director of the International Land Conservation Network at the Lincoln Institute. “We are very excited to get to know her, to work with her, and to share her insights with land trust colleagues from coastal Virginia to the Pacific highlands, and beyond.”
Following that presentation, the National Land Trust Excellence Award recognized Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust for its work in multiple areas, including: ensuring access to affordable farmland through its “whole farm forever” approach that ensures future generations of farmers will have access to both farmland and farm infrastructure, collaborating with local Nipmuc partners to co-manage land and assist the Tribe with cultural revitalization.
“Over the last few years, Mount Grace has undertaken a journey to explore the organization’s work using an equity-oriented lens,” said Bowman. “They are a model for how land trusts can become more engaged and invested in the communities they serve, incorporate Indigenous input into stewardship plans, and develop partnerships built on mutual trust and respect for the land.”
During the past year, Mount Grace partnered with Nipmuk Cultural Preservation, Inc., and together, they signed a cultural use and respect agreement that “invites Nipmuc citizens to the land and reserves them rights beyond those granted to the general public, such as harvesting food and medicine, camping, and holding ceremonies on the land.” Mount Grace also recently launched a new Climate and Land Justice Program centered on the importance and urgency of climate change and equitable land access for everyone, especially BIPOC farmers.
“When we protect land, we protect the wildlife connectivity, biodiversity and good soils,” said Emma G. Ellsworth, executive director at Mount Grace. “We also protect generational relationships with the land. That’s at the core of Mount Grace’s mission. It’s at the core of very urgent work ahead of us all. Not to protect the land from people, but to restore our relationships with the land and each other for a more just and equitable future.”
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
About the Land Trust Alliance:
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents approximately 950 member land trusts supported by more than 250,000 volunteers and 6.3 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at http://www.landtrustalliance.org.
About Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust:
Founded in 1986, Mount Grace benefits the environment, the economy, and future generations by protecting significant agricultural, natural, and scenic lands and encouraging land stewardship in northern and central Massachusetts. Mount Grace collaborates with a wide range of conservation agencies, organizations, and individuals, concentrating on the benefits of reciprocally sharing resources and knowledge from diverse backgrounds to achieve landscape-scale conservation and site-appropriate land stewardship. More information is available at http://www.mountgrace.org.
About the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy:
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy seeks to improve quality of life through the effective use, taxation, and stewardship of land. A nonprofit private operating foundation whose origins date to 1946, the Lincoln Institute researches and recommends creative approaches to land as a solution to economic, social, and environmental challenges. Through education, training, publications, and events, we integrate theory and practice to inform public policy decisions worldwide.
Corey Himrod, Land Trust Alliance, 5713595357, [email protected]
SOURCE Land Trust Alliance
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