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Julia Fry Landstreet, executive director of the South Kingstown Land Trust, holds an accreditation certificate from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission that was awarded to the organization in 2016.  SKLT recently received a 5-year renewal on its accreditation and is awaiting a new certificate.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The South Kingstown Land Trust’s work at fundraising and completing two buildings are part of why it’s earned re-accreditation at the national level.

The accreditation comes from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. The national land conservation organization represents more than 1,000 land trusts nationwide.

Accreditation by the commission is a mark of distinction, proving that land trust is committed to professional excellence and maintaining the community’s trust in its conservation work. The land trust’s new term of accreditation runs through August 2026.

It also shows the local non-profit organization’s commitment to permanent land conservation in South Kingstown, South Kingstown Land Trust Executive Director Julia Landstreet said.

“We are a stronger organization than ever for having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process,” Landstreet said. “Our strength means our community’s beautiful open spaces will be protected forever, making South Kingstown an even greater place for us and our children.”

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission’s summary of findings notes: “SKLT has made an extraordinary commitment to excellence, trust and permanence in land conservation. The commission especially recognizes SKLT for its successful capital campaign to grow its stewardship fund and build two buildings.”

In April, the land trust celebrated completion of a new welcome center and equipment shed buildings at the land trust’s Weeden Farm site off of Matunuck Beach Road. Both new structures are right next door to the Barn, which is used as the location of a string of land trust events such as the “B5 Party: BBQ, Blues, Beer, Barn and Bonfire” fundraiser.

The 1,200 square-foot welcome center and offices for the trust overlook the fields of Weeden Farm and provide a central location for visitors and staff. The shed is a garage and equipment storage area that serves as a permanent home to the trust’s tractors and other landscaping and maintenance tools.

The land trust is one of an elite group of 450 accredited land trusts. While there are a total of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census, accredited land trusts are responsible for the care and stewardship of 79% of all protected lands.

“It is exciting to recognize South Kingstown Land Trust’s continued commitment to national standards by renewing this national mark of distinction,” commission Executive Director Melissa Kalvestrand said.

The land trust was founded as a private trust in 1983 and later incorporated as a private non-profit corporation in 1999, with the mission of conserving the natural resources of South Kingstown through preservation and stewardship of open space.

It was created by a small group of residents and landowners, acting in response to a growing awareness that land use regulations at town, state and federal levels alone were insufficient to provide lasting protection of the town’s open spaces, wildlife habitats, farm and forest lands, aquifers and recharge areas, and coastal ecosystems.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission said it “inspires excellence, promotes public trust, and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement.” The commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and non-profit management experts.

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