Thank you.

Thank you for making your first gift to the Columbia Land Conservancy. With this donation, you’re part of a community of supporters that numbers over a thousand strong!

Together, we’ve accomplished so much:

  • Owning and managing ten public properties with nearly 30 miles of trails. These sites are visited over 60,000 times per year.
  • Securing over $27 million on behalf of local farmers to protect their farms.
  • Collaborating with 250 land stewards owning nearly 40,000 acres of conserved land to ensure they are protected forever.
  • Hosting dozens of educational programs and events attended by almost 1,000 individuals each year.

CLC is guided by our mission, vision, and principles.

Mission

The Columbia Land Conservancy brings people together to conserve, appreciate, and enjoy land.

Vision

Columbia County is a beautiful, livable, resilient place. People are proud of and proud to care for that place.

Guiding principles

Respectful: We treat others with respect – each other, our constituents, and our communities, respectful of different opinions and perspectives.

Inclusive: We are welcoming and inclusive, working to ensure our information, programs, and public lands are accessible to all who are interested.

Collaborative: We work with others to achieve our shared goals.

Serving nature: We work to protect the natural systems that support all life.

Operationally responsible: We manage our fiscal and informational resources with integrity and to protect personal data and privacy.

The three pillars of our Strategic Plan: Connecting people to the land, caring for the land, and conserving land, provide a structure for the work that we do.

Connecting people to land

The challenge we face
  • Columbia County has relatively little public open space.
  • Many groups have traditionally been excluded from experiencing the outdoors and still face discrimination while enjoying trails and nature.
  • The school system’s focus on testing and science, technology, engineering, and math may not leave room for environmental education activities.
  • Outdoor gear can be prohibitively expensive to purchase.
Rising to meet it
  • CLC owns and manages ten public properties open to the public from dawn to dusk daily. These sites include wayfinding information in English, Spanish, and symbols. Each site includes a Nature Quest adventure especially designed to engage young children in the outdoors.
  • CLC partners with other local nonprofits to provide outdoor educational programming both after school and at summer camps.
  • CLC works with local libraries to distribute Nature Explorer Backpacks which contain basic gear, trail maps, and more.

Our students donned life jackets and climbed into the kayaks to paddle on the pond! It was beautiful to witness their excitement as they paddled against the backdrop of changing leaves in the golden light of the late afternoon sun. The smiles were wide and abundant, and there were so many giggles and squeals of joy.

Nellie Ostow, Kite’s Nest

Caring for land

Two hands holding a black salamander. Vernal pools exploration walk promo photo.
It takes everyone
  • Threats like climate change and invasive species are already impacting Columbia County.
  • Columbia County includes one of only two forested wildlife corridors that cross the Hudson Valley. Plants and animals use these corridors for habitat and moving in response to climate change.
  • Not every property can – or should – be protected with a permanent tool like a conservation easement, but every person can do their part to care for land.
Caring together
  • CLC provides volunteer opportunities where people can learn more about how to care for land by removing invasive species, sowing native plants, and managing trails.
  • CLC is creating a network of interested landowners demonstrating best management practices and conservation techniques.
  • CLC is demonstrating land care practices at the properties we own and manage, and interpreting those practices for site visitors.

As a volunteer, it’s important to me to give back – everyone deserves the opportunity to spend time in nature.

Tracy Pennea, volunteer

Conserving land

Challenges and opportunities
  • Rising land and housing costs make it nearly impossible for average wage workers to live in Columbia County and for farmers to keep farming.
  • Many Columbia County towns do not have resources for planning and zoning. With increased development pressure, conservation-minded planning is more important than ever.
  • A large portion of farmers are approaching retirement age but have not been able to find successors, and farming in a changing climate makes this way of life more difficult than ever.
Leading the way
  • CLC has permanently conserved nearly 40,000 acres of land in perpetuity, partnering with hundreds of landowners, conservation-minded organizations, and state agencies.
  • CLC has worked with farmers and partners to secure over $27M in grant funding to protect family farms.
  • CLC has received a grant from the Hudson River Estuary Program to create a Strategic Conservation Plan for Columbia County that will convene a group of community partners to identify key habitats, recreation opportunities, climate resilient landscapes, and options for siting renewable energy and affordable housing.
promo photo for spring migration bird walk - small yellow bird sits on branch

We are so lucky to be living in this beautiful place, and thanks to CLC it keeps getting better and better.

Meg Cashen, steward of conserved property
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