Land grants from the state

ALBANY COUNTY — The E.N. Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville and the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, which works to preserve lands in three counties including Albany, received grants as part of the governor’s Conservation Partnership Program for non-profit land trusts.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s office announced the grant awards as part of an Earth Week celebration meant to highlight the state’s natural resources and New York’s commitment to conserving open space.

The grants are funded through the Environmental Protection Fund.

The Huyck Preserve received a $15,000 capacity grant.

“Capacity Grants assist land trusts, like the Huyck Preserve, in improving their reach, effectiveness, and impact,” said Dawn O’Neal, executive director for the preserve. 

“Our 2015 Capacity Grant is in follow up to our recent Standards and Practice Assessment, which we completed the spring of last year, and will be used to implement and update standards and practices identified in the assessment,” O’Neal said. “The…assessment is one part of the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation process, with accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance providing assurances to donors and members that the preserve is following the best practices to ensure land protection in perpetuity.”

Previously, the Huyck Preserve has used similar grants to update its website and its visitors’ center, to improve its social media presence, and “to establish a volunteer program, which is currently recruiting volunteers for several citizen science endeavors,” O’Neal said. 

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy received two transaction grants for $3,050 and $17,000.

Mark King, the executive director of the land conservancy, said that the $17,000 grant will go toward the purchase of the Margaret Craven Snowden conservation easements along the Heldeberg escarpment purchased in December 2014. (See related story.)

“The bulk of the funding will be used for surveying of the property, as accurate boundaries are very important for the long-term monitoring of a conservation easement,” King said. “Additional funds will help with the legal and documentation costs associated with the easement.

“The smaller grant was for…costs associated with the conservation easement on the former Tenzin Gyatso property in Berne,” King continued. The one-time Buddhist retreat is now owned by Berne and open to the public.

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