Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation pursues Land Trust accreditation

Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation pursues Land Trust accreditation

The Caroline Tuthill Preserve. — Steve Myrick

The Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation (SMF), Martha’s Vineyard largest nonprofit private conservation organization, has begun the process of becoming an accredited member of the national Land Trust Alliance.

“The Foundation’s mission is to conserve the natural, beautiful, rural landscape and character of Martha’s Vineyard for present and future generations,” said the Foundation in a press release dated April 30. “Accreditation is important to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation because it will require us to meet the highest standards, and because it will independently certify that we are meeting those standards.”

Public comments on the application may be submitted to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance that conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.

“We decided that it was time for Sheriff’s Meadow to apply for accreditation and engage in this program,” SMF executive director Adam Moore said in a telephone conversation with The Times. “We’re in the process of doing that, which requires extensive filing and review, after which the Commission will decide whether to award us accreditation or not. There are essentially two benefits. It will ensure that Sheriff’s Meadow is meeting rigorous standards as we operate our organization, and it will demonstrate to our supporters and the community that we meet those standards, which the Trustees of Reservations and Nature Conservancy have done.”

Mr. Moore is confident that SMF will receive accreditation. “I don’t have any concerns,” he said, “but it is a lot of work, additional procedures, doing formally something we’ve done informally, for example, but it will be worth doing. It’s a long program, and includes a comment period, during which those who wish to comment are welcome to do so. We’re also going to send this information to the people in our database and post them on kiosks at our properties.”

The Accreditation Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation complies with national quality standards. The standards include responsible governance, protection of public interest, accountability, and legal compliance, addressing the ethical and technical operation of a land trust.

For more information or to comment, go to landtrustaccreditation.org.

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