by Jake Tibbles, Executive Director
Land trusts are radically hopeful. They look far into the future and see a world in which natural areas and working lands surround us with beauty and nurture us. And they work tirelessly to make that vision a reality by protecting the places that our communities cherish and love.
The process of conserving land is a delicate balance between protecting the natural resources that exist today and anticipating what the future might bring.
For TILT, there is also the challenge of ensuring that there will be financial resources for a strong organization to keep the promises of forever. Located in one of the most beautiful places in the world, TILT must plan for forever in the face of a growing population, demand for new infrastructure, changing land ownership patterns and the particular challenges posed by climate change.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to perpetuity will come from a growing population increasingly disconnected from the land. Many fail to connect land conservation to the water they drink, the food on their table – the quality of their daily lives.
Yet, we remain optimistic. At TILT, we have good reason to look forward with hope. That reason is you – the over 1,000 members, volunteers, ambassadors and partners who believe in TILT’s mission.
Look at all we have achieved together, and you will agree that there is every reason to be hopeful about what we will continue to do. This is especially true as we announce that TILT’s Conserving the Place We Love Campaign has reached more than 95% of its fundraising goal.
We are incredibly grateful to the members of the River communities who have supported us over the years and given so generously toward this important campaign.
Laying the foundation for the future, the campaign has also been a catalyst for the development of TILT’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan.
Adopted in September, TILT envisions the St. Lawrence River shorelines, wetlands, and tributaries conserved to maintain the unique ecology of the Thousand Island region. Water quality, and fish, birds, and our diverse wildlife habitats are protected. Community vitality is enhanced through year-round public access to outdoor recreation. And the scenic beauty which is critical to the region’s tourism-based economy is maintained.
TILT also envisions conserved lands that have a global significance by providing connectivity between the ecologically critical Canadian Algonquins and the American Adirondacks, an area with the highest biological diversity and the greatest climate change resiliency in North America.
This vision can only be achieved if we successfully influence and encourage governments, land owners, people living alongside open lands, organizations and the wider public to accept its merits and realize its goals.
All of us at TILT are grateful for your commitment to conservation and your confidence in us to protect what we know and love in our communities – today and for future generations.