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For every $1 donated, the Land Conservancy is able to protect $16 worth of land. We are so grateful for the generosity and support of people throughout our region. Together we are making a difference!
We are always looking for volunteers to help with our fundraising events like EverGreen EverBlue and our social events like Kids in the Creek. If you enjoy socializing, pitching in, and helping others we need you.
Land. People. Communities. Help spread the word about the Land Conservancy’s vision for our region and learn about ways to get involved. Visit our profile on these social media sites.
events & calendar
Laura Watilo Blake:
8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Monday through Friday
Through March 31, 2015
“Making Waves,” a photography exhibit by photojournalist Laura Watilo Blake that documents efforts to bring safe drinking water to an African village, is now on display through March 31 at Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Conservation Center, 3850 Chagrin River Road, Moreland Hills. Blake spent two years working with the local nonprofit organization Drink Local. Drink Tap. to help raise awareness about water issues both here and abroad. An opening reception with Blake, who owns Elbee Studio in Cleveland, and Drink Local. Drink Tap. Executive Director and Founder Erin Huber will take place from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25. For more information, click here.
Tree Steward Trainings
Help us Reforest our City!
Please join arborists from Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Holden Arboretum to learn about urban and community forestry and volunteerism at the neighborhood level. For more information, click here.
Viewfinders Photo Club
Monthly Instructional Meetings held at 6:30 on the third Wednesday of the month
Viewfinders a gathering of photographers who meet once a month for instructional sessions and friendly critiques; members are encourage to participate in monthly photography field trips to locations across the Western Reserve. All ages and experience levels are welcome. For more information, click here.
and publications from the Land Conservancy
February 18, 2015
Land Conservancy to award
grants to plant, care for trees
Working in partnership with community groups and nonprofits, Western Reserve Land Conservancy is excited to announce the Reforest Our City Grant Program. Approximately $35,000 is available to fund tree planting projects in the City of Cleveland. Applications are due March 31, with planting in the spring or fall of 2015. Learn more about the program, get an application or read a grant summary.
February 18, 2015
Land Conservancy opposes
Lake Erie dumping plan
Keith McClintock, vice president of conservation for Western Reserve Land Conservancy, testified against a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to dump contaminated dredge spoils into Lake Erie Harbor. McClintock spoke at a public hearing Tuesday at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport.
“Jeopardizing the health of Lake Erie and its fish and wildlife, as well as Northeastern Ohioans, undermines the Land Conservancy’s mission to provide healthy communities,” McClintock said. “ I encourage the Corps of Engineers and the state of Ohio to continue to negotiate to find a solution that allows the contaminated dredge spoils to be dumped into a combined disposal facility (CDF). The Port of Cleveland is an economic driver for the region so the Cuyahoga River must be maintained for commercial navigation. But the contaminated dredge spoils should not be dumped back into Lake Erie at a time when millions of federal dollars are being spent on Great Lakes restoration initiatives.” You can read McClintock’s full testimony here.
January 30, 2015
Family permanently preserves
Copley Township farm
The largest remaining farm in Copley Township has been permanently protected. Lonesome Pine Farm, a 119-acre tract in western Summit County, has been permanently preserved with a conservation easement granted to the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy by owners Sally Gamauf and her daughter, Darcy Brandel. The farm, which has been in the family for 92 years, is on Cleveland-Massillon Road, about a half-mile south of Copley Circle. “Darcy and I wanted to see it remain farmland forever,” said Gamauf, a retired University of Akron psychologist and former member of the Land Conservancy’s Medina Summit Chapter. “We also wanted preserve the farm in honor of my father and my grandparents.”
January 21, 2015
Land Conservancy preserves
its first farm in Wayne County
Lemoine “Lee” Peart said when she and her family began looking to buy a farm the 1980s, they identified 10 qualities that would constitute the ideal property. Most of the farms fell short in several areas. Then Peart visited a former sheep farm in Wayne County, about two miles south of Burbank.“This farm hit everything on our list,” she said. “Not only did it have what we were looking for in a farm, it had wonderful natural areas. To this day, people marvel at what a beautiful place it is.”
January 2, 2015
Former golf course is now part
of Lorain County Metro Parks
A former golf course is the newest addition to the Lorain County Metro Parks. The park district partnered with the non-profit Western Reserve Land Conservancy to purchase the 97-acre former Royal Oaks Golf Club in the village of Grafton. Funding for the purchase came from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, a voter-approved source of revenue for projects preserving natural areas in the state, and the park district. The property is now part of the Metro Parks’ Indian Hollow Reservation and preserves approximately 2,100 linear feet of the East Branch of the Black River as well as wetlands, vernal pools, forest and open meadows.
December 15, 2014Campaign would make
lifeboat station a public park
The nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Village of Marblehead are launching a campaign to create a new coastal park that will provide public access for fishing, hiking and bird-watching. The campaign seeks to raise funds to acquire the two-acre Marblehead Lifeboat Station property and make it a public park.
Rich Cochran, president and CEO of the Land Conservancy, said it is “an extraordinary opportunity” to make the site – already platted for a residential subdivision by the current owner – a public asset instead of another private development. More than 80 percent of the Lake Erie shoreline in Ohio is developed or privately owned. The park may also include an ADA accessible, non-motorized boat launch ramp. Cochran said even if the Land Conservancy succeeds in securing public grants for the project, there will be a critical need for matching funds. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to Western Reserve Land Conservancy to fund the project can do so here.Read more...
December 12, 2014
Bid deadline for
extended to Jan. 15
Western Reserve Land Conservancy has extended to Jan. 15 the deadline for submitting sealed bids for the purchase of a lakeside retreat in Burton. The property, located at 13600 Colony Drive, Burton, Ohio,between Route 87 (Kinsman Road) and Butternut Road, is adjacent to 235 acres of permanently preserved land. For more information on the chalet-style 4-bedroom home, click here.
December 8, 2014
Land Conservancy endorses
Great Lakes legislation
Western Reserve Land Conservancy is applauding the introduction of bipartisan legislation to protect the Great Lakes. H.R. 5764, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2014, authorizes a regional restoration program for cleaning up “toxic hotspots,” halting Asian carp and other invasive species and preventing polluted runoff that closes beaches and causes harmful algal blooms.
The legislation has been introduced by Reps. David Joyce, Louise Slaughter, Sander Levin and John Dingell. It provides a solid legislative platform to ensure the region continues to work together to implement a science-based and outcomes-focused plan of action for restoring and protecting the Great Lakes. The bill may be considered as early as this week.
December 5, 2014
Land Conservancy helps add
30 acres to national park
The nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the National Park Service (NPS) have effectively filled a “hole” in the footprint of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) by adding 30 acres of new parkland in Boston Township. The sloping property, located on the south side of Hines Hill Road, just north of the Ohio Turnpike and south of Interstate 271, is surrounded by the national park and includes a portion of Stanford Run, a tributary of the Cuyahoga River. NPS will manage the property as passive parkland.
December 1, 2014
Help Land Conservancy
Tomorrow, Dec. 2, is #GivingTuesday, and you can help Western Reserve Land Conservancy celebrate. We give back to our community all year by preserving farmland, natural areas and coastal lands, and by helping revitalize our cities. Please consider making an online donation to help us continue our important work.
November 22, 2014
Glenwillow, Land Conservancy
create park along Tinker's Creek
The Village of Glenwillow and the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy are partnering to create a new 17.5-acre park and protect a half-mile of Tinker’s Creek, the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River. Glenwillow acquired the wooded property, located on the east side of Richmond Road, adjacent to Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation, with a Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grant secured by the Land Conservancy. It is now permanently protected with a conservation easement held by the Land Conservancy. The village will own and maintain the park. It will be used for passive recreation and outdoor education.
November 21, 2014
Land Conservancy: Farmland losses will mount
if conservation tax incentive isn’t restored
Ohio’s largest land trust is worried that the state may lose thousands of acres of farmland to development if Congress fails to restore and make permanent a bipartisan tax incentive for conservation by the end of 2014. The nonprofit Land Conservancy, which has permanently preserved nearly 40,000 acres in northern and eastern Ohio, including 21,000 acres of farmland, is urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to restore the vital conservation tool during the current “lame duck” session. It passed the House this summer on a bipartisan vote and is now pending in the Senate.
September 30, 2014
Carol Prior paintings
displayed at Land
An exhibit by Russell Township watercolor artist Carol Prior will open Oct. 2 at our Moreland Hills headquarters, 3850 Chagrin River Road in Moreland Hills. An opening reception is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 5-8 p.m. Carol offers this commentary on her work: "My subject matter frequently reflects people having fun – sailing, picnicking, canoeing and kayaking, enjoying nature. Having spent my childhood summers on the coast of Maine, I also love painting lobster boats and dinghies. People tell me that my paintings are happy. That is a great compliment."
September 4, 2014
Open houses scheduled
for Crowell Hilaka property
The public will get a chance to tour the 336-acre Crowell Hilaka property when the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Richfield Joint Recreation District host a series of open houses at the former Girl Scout camp. The open houses will be from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 26, and from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5. Attendees are asked to use the Broadview Road entrance, north of Route 303.
August 11, 2014
Sherrod Brown is keynote speaker
at Ohio Land Bank Conference
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown will deliver the keynote address at the fourth annual Ohio Land Bank Conference on Friday, Sept. 12 at The Westin Hotel in Columbus.The conference, a gathering of local, regional and national leaders on the topic of urban land use and revitalization, takes place Sept. 11-12 and is sponsored by Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, which is working statewide to revitalize Ohio’s cities. “We are excited that Sen. Brown has accepted our invitation to speak and I know our attendees will energized by this announcement,” said Jim Rokakis, a Land Conservancy vice president and director of Thriving Communities Institute. “Once again, this conference will be a must-attend event for all those who are interested in the future of Ohio cities that were devastated by the foreclosure crisis.” The keynote speaker at last year’s conference was Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
August 8, 2014
Land Conservancy helps preserve
coastal museum property
The Land Conservancy helped the coastal city of Vermilion secure federal, state and local funding to preserve an historic lakeside property with a building that formerly showcased aquatic artifacts. The funding, which included private donations and grants from Ohio Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks program, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and the state’s Clean Ohio Conservation Fund enabled the city to purchase the former Inland Seas Maritime Museum property on Lake Erie. The project creates a new public park for passive recreation and provides access to an additional 300 feet of Lake Erie shoreline. The property is now permanently preserved with a conservation easement held by the Land Conservancy.
July 22, 2014
Maple Heights, Land Conservancy
preserve 24-acre parcel near park
The city of Maple Heights and the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute have partnered to create a new 24-acre nature preserve at the Bedford border. The project was completed at no cost to city taxpayers.The parcel is off both Granite Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, adjacent to the boundary line with Bedford, and less than half a mile north of the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation. A stream valley connects the properties and serves as a basis for extending the corridor, and additional phases of this project could include a trail connecting an adjacent industrial park to the Metroparks. Project funding came from a Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Program grant and a generous bargain sale donation from the seller, Maple Heights Development Corporation. The Land Conservancy applied for the grant, which was approved by Natural Resources Assistance Council District 1 and the Ohio Public Works Commission.
July 15, 2014
set for Sept. 11-12 in Columbus
The fourth annual County Land Bank Conference, a gathering of local, regional and national leaders on the topic of urban land use and revitalization, will take place Sept. 11-12 at The Westin Hotel in Columbus. The conference is sponsored by the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, which works statewide to revitalize Ohio’s urban centers. Speakers and panel discussions will cover a range of topics -- from land bank strategies, to community engagement, to greening and reforestation projects -- with the intention of sharing practices and findings to continue the progress already being made in these areas of our communities. To register and learn about updates on programming and speakers, visit www.thrivingcommunitiesinstitute.org, or contact Kate Hydock at (216) 515-8300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 9, 2014
Land Conservancy applauds
Great Lakes funding initiative
Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the state’s largest land trust, is applauding the introduction of a federal bill allocating $300 million to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in fiscal year 2015. Land Conservancy President and CEO Rich Cochran said it was “great news for the Great Lakes” that the U.S. House of Representatives has set aside the funding in its first version of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill. The Great Lakes funding – the same amount as last year but more than what President Obama requested in his budget proposal – was allocated by the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, of which Rep. David Joyce is a member.
July 2, 2014
Land Conservancy seeks
The Land Conservancy is seeking volunteers to staff the front desk/reception area at our Moreland Hills headquarters. The person will perform various clerical duties, answer the telephone, greet visitors, perform data entry using a variety of computer applications, do filing work and assist with mailings, envelope-stuffing and special projects as needed. The available shifts are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Qualifications and skills include: respectful and welcoming of clients; must be able to move and lift up to 20 pounds; fundamental understanding of office methods, procedures and practices; ability to screen incoming telephone calls and visitors; ability to handle various special projects on an ongoing basis (stuffing and mailing envelopes, etc.).
Volunteers would need to work a minimum of one shift per week for at least three months. A background check will be performed. Interested persons should contact Nancy McCann.
May 30, 2014Volunteers needed
to finish trailheads
Western Reserve Land Conservancy is looking for volunteers willing to help the nonprofit finish building trailheads at its headquarters, 3850 Chagrin River Road in Moreland Hills, before June 15.
The main tasks will be getting enough stone slabs off the property, laying down base material under the stones and filling the path with gravel. Volunteers must be able to do heaving lifting and shoveling. For more information or to volunteer, contact Kendrick Chittock at (440) 528-4165 or email@example.com.
May 7, 2014
Nancy McCann named
to Land Conservancy
Nancy McCann, a senior development officer at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation for the past 14 years, has been named the Chief Development Officer for the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy. McCann, who most recently served as the Clinic’s Executive Director of Gift Planning and Alumni Relations, will oversee all fundraising and development programs at the Land Conservancy, which is based in Moreland Hills. She will report to President and CEO Rich Cochran. “We are extremely pleased that Nancy is joining our staff,” Cochran said. “She is an accomplished professional who has broad experience in all phases of advancement, and she is widely regarded as an expert in the field of major gifts and planned gifts such as charitable trusts. Just as important is the fact that Nancy also has a deep and abiding passion for our conservation mission.”Read more...
April 24, 2014
Land Conservancy offers two
event assistant internships
The Land Conservancy is looking for two event interns to assist with the planning and organization of all aspects of events pertaining to our education and outreach efforts.
One position will focus on all external events which range from logistically complex functions to field-oriented activities like bird walks and river clean-ups. The other position will focus on all of the events, education, and facility usage at our renowned headquarters.
There will be some overlap between the positions and duties.
April 11, 2014
Kaptur, Fudge will help
lead EverUrban fundraiser
U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge will help lead EverUrban, the April 26 fundraiser for Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute in Cleveland.
Kaptur and Fudge have joined the event’s honorary committee, which also includes Thriving Communities Institute Director Jim Rokakis, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, Cuyahoga County Council President C. Ellen Connally, Cleveland Ward 12 City Councilman and Cuyahoga Land Bank Chair Tony Brancatelli and U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce. EverUrban, the first fundraiser for Thriving Communities, the Land Conservancy program that is helping revitalize neighborhoods throughout Ohio, will take place at 7 p.m. April 26 at the Ariel International Center, 1163 E. 40th Street, Cleveland. Individual tickets are $150 ($75 tax deductible), while VIP tickets that include a special prelude party from 6-7 p.m. are $500 ($400 tax deductible).
For ticket information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (440) 528-4150.
April 11, 2014
Efforts to preserve former camp
get boost from agreement, open house
A group of community leaders, conservationists, outdoor recreation advocates and historians is looking at ways to preserve Crowell Hilaka, the 336-acre former Girl Scout camp in Richfield Township.The property is known for its extraordinary natural resources and historic landmarks. A fall open house sparked new interest in preserving the property and prompted an increase in philanthropic pledges to the Friends of Crowell Hilaka, a group trying to save the former camp. In addition, the owner of the property, the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, has entered into a contingent purchase agreement with the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which has convened a coalition of community advocates in its continuing search for a purchaser aligned with its preservation mission.Read more...
April 1, 2014
to help lead April 26 fundraiser
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Rep. David Joyce have taken leadership roles in EverUrban, the April 26 fundraiser for Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute in Cleveland. Portman will co-chair the event along with Thriving Communities Institute Director Jim Rokakis, while Joyce has accepted a position on EverUrban’s honorary committee, which also includes Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, Cleveland Ward 12 City Councilman Tony Brancatelli and Cuyahoga County Council President C. Ellen Connally.
EverUrban, the first fundraiser for Thriving Communities, the Land Conservancy program that is helping revitalize neighborhoods throughout Ohio, will take place at 7 p.m. April 26 at the Ariel International Center, 1163 E. 40th Street, Cleveland. Individual tickets are $150 ($75 tax deductible), while VIP tickets that include a special prelude party from 6-7 p.m. are $500 ($400 tax deductible). For ticket information, email email@example.com or call (440) 528-4150.
March 28, 2014
Museum partner to preserve
rare Summit County bog
Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History are preserving a rare tamarack bog in Summit County, one that is home to 11 rare plant and animal species. The 58-acre Long Lake Bog, located in Coventry Township, has been permanently preserved through a partnership between the nonprofit Land Conservancy and the Museum. The Land Conservancy helped the Museum purchase the land with the help of Clean Ohio and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency funding and will hold a conservation easement on the property. The Museum will own and manage the bog, which is adjacent to Portage Lakes State Park and Portage Lake Wetland, a state nature preserve about eight miles southwest of downtown Akron.
March 19, 2014
Land Conservancy applauds
governor's proposal for
Clean Ohio Fund
The state’s largest land trust is applauding Gov. John Kasich’s plan to allocate $100 million for Clean Ohio Fund conservation programs in his proposed capital budget bill for fiscal year 2015-2016.Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a Moreland Hills-based nonprofit that has preserved 534 properties and 38,552 acres in northern and eastern Ohio, has been part of a coalition pushing for increased Clean Ohio funding, according to Rich Cochran, the organization’s president and CEO.
The governor’s capital budget bill for the next two years was unveiled on Tuesday.
“This is a huge step forward for conservation in Ohio and a genuine recognition of the importance of preserving our state’s tremendous natural resources,” Cochran said. “We applaud the governor for his support of one of the most valuable and impactful programs we have seen. Clean Ohio will continue to create healthier, more vibrant communities across our state.”Read more...
March 13, 2014
for April 2
A postponed Land Conservancy program for property owners interested in conservation easements and farmland protection has been rescheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. April 2 at the EHOVE Career Center, Room A-101, 316 W. Mason Road, Milan.
A snowstorm forced the postponement of the program, which was to have been on March 12. The event will provide landowners with information about conservation options, including conservation easements, the state’s Agricultural Easement Protection Program and other farmland preservation initiatives. Featured speaker will be Andy McDowell, who has overseen the preservation of thousands of acres of farmland and natural areas in Lorain, Huron, Erie, Medina, Ashland, Richland, Summit, Stark and Wayne counties as the Land Conservancy’s vice president of western field operations.
February 21, 2014
The head of the nonprofit organization responsible for securing more than $182 million in demolition funding for Ohio cities is applauding Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald’s proposal to issue $50 million in bonds to raze homes in Cleveland and its suburbs.
Jim Rokakis, director of Thriving Communities Institute and a nationally recognized expert on the foreclosure crisis, said he is pleased Cuyahoga County may be adding to the demolition funds already allocated by the federal government, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the City of Cleveland and others. FitzGerald’s bond issue proposal for Cuyahoga County would still need the approval of County Council.
FitzGerald made the proposal at his State of the County address on Wednesday. (Read the Plain Dealer's commentary on the speech here.)
“While vacant properties are especially troubling—and devastating to inner city neighborhoods—their impact is felt by property owners all over Cuyahoga County who are paying millions more in property taxes to cover the losses to the City of Cleveland tax base, “ Rokakis said.Read more...
February 13, 2014
Study says demolition
helps curb Cleveland
mortgage foreclosure rates
Cleveland neighborhoods in which blighted homes are razed generally have lower mortgage foreclosure rates, according to a new study of the impact of demolition in the city and inner-ring suburbs over a four-year period. The study also concluded that residential property values “can be hedged by demolition activity across Cleveland submarkets.” The study area was comprised of four submarkets, ranging from high functioning to extremely weak. Findings indicated that stronger neighborhoods realize the largest home-equity benefits. The study, which was conducted by the Griswold Consulting Group at the request of Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute and funded in part by Cleveland City Council, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Eva L. and Joseph M. Bruening Foundation and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, looked at the effect that residential demolition had on real estate equity and mortgage-foreclosure rates in Cleveland and several inner-ring suburbs between 2009 and 2013. Other sponsors include land banks in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Stark, Summit and Trumbull counties.
January 23, 2014
seeks $200 Million
A broad coalition of civic organizations and public officials wants Ohio to receive $200 million in funds from the $13 billion settlement of mortgage-fraud claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against JPMorgan Chase.The Ohio Plan, the coalition’s proposal for the settlement funds, calls for the money to go toward the razing of dilapidated properties throughout the state, programs to prevent home foreclosure and abandonment, the renovation of blighted homes and the re-purposing of vacant parcels resulting from demolition.
January 21, 2014
for farmland lease
The Land Conservancy is requesting proposals for a three-year lease to farm a 300-acre tract in Bloomfield and Orwell townships. The land was used to produce corn in 2013. Proposals are due by 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at the Land Conservancy's headquarters. You can view the entire Request for Proposals here.
January 15, 2014
preserved an additional
4,000 acres in 2013
The Land Conservancy permanently preserved another 51 properties and more than 4,000 acres in 2013, marking one of the organization’s best years ever. The preserved property total was only one short of the Land Conservancy’s high-water mark in 2011, while the 4,011 acres permanently protected in 2013 represented the organization’s fourth-best year behind 2012 (5,525 acres), 2011 (5,524) and 2007 (5,249). In addition, the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, which is helping revitalize urban centers throughout Ohio, assisted in the formation of new land banks in Ashtabula and Richland counties in 2013.Read more...
January 6, 2014
Four are named to
Land Conservancy board
The Land Conservancy has named Tom Butch, Ruth Swetland Eppig, Nancy Rubin and Craig Owen White to its Board of Trustees. The Land Conservancy, formed in 2006 by the merger of eight local land trusts, has permanently preserved 533 properties and more than 38,000 acres in northern and eastern Ohio. In addition, its Thriving Communities Institute helps revitalize urban centers across the state.
Check out highlights
of our work in 2013
From the countryside to the city, the Land Conservancy helped make a difference in 2013. This video looks at some of the people and places that were critical to our work.
Oct. 22, 2013
Rokakis: Help foreclosure
victims who still live in
A nationally recognized expert told advocates for urban revitalization that the forgotten victims of the foreclosure crisis are those homeowners who paid their mortgages and taxes on time and maintained their houses, only to see their property values plummet due to vacant and abandoned structures in the neighborhood.
Jim Rokakis, vice president of the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy and director of its Thriving Communities Institute, urged those attending the Revitalizing Ohio’s Vacant Properties conference to advocate for homeowners who remain in blighted neighborhoods but feel powerless to enact change.
Rokakis made the plea in his opening remarks at the Oct. 22-23 conference in Columbus.Read more...
Oct. 8, 2013
Parkland acquisition adds
to Medina's green corridor
The Medina County Park District’s acquisition of a tract off Fenn Road is the latest link in a corridor of conserved land through parts of Medina and Medina Township – one that is two miles long and covers more than 600 acres.The park district worked with the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy to acquire the 87-acre Medina Marsh, which is located south of Fenn Road and east of Pearl Road in Medina Township. The Medina Marsh parcel connects the county park district’s 41-acre Vansco Nature Preserve to Medina’s 308-acre Reagan and Huffman parks, which in turn are adjacent to Lake Medina, a former reservoir that is now a 190-acre county park.Read more...
Sept. 24, 2013
hit 10-year low,
Foreclosure filings are down significantly in Cuyahoga County and may reach a 10-year low if the trend continues through the end of 2013, according to a new report done by Frank Ford, Senior Policy Advisor for Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute. But in spite of this dramatic drop, foreclosures are still double the rate they were before the crisis began, the report said, and vacant and blighted properties are still at record-high levels, posing a major threat to the real estate market in the county.
This report looked at foreclosure and vacant property trends in Cuyahoga County between 1995 and Aug. 31, 2013, with an emphasis on the past six years since the foreclosure crisis peaked in 2007. Based on current trends, the report provides an estimate of foreclosure counts at the end of 2013.
In the report, Ford states that “if this downward trend were to continue it could represent an opportunity for market stabilization, i.e., a slow-down of the incoming pipeline of new vacancy and blight could give Cleveland and its suburbs a chance to ‘catch-up’ and address the existing inventory of market-crippling blight. That would lead to the recovery of home values, and more importantly, the recovery of home equity which is the single largest asset for many struggling families in Cuyahoga County.”
You can read the full report here.
Sept. 16, 2013
Lake Erie Bluffs
Federal, state and local officials joined residents and nature-lovers on Monday morning for the dedication of Lake Erie Bluffs, a 600-acre Lake Metroparks preserve in Perry Township. The preserve features nearly two miles of undeveloped Lake Erie shoreline. The Land Conservancy helped Lake Metroparks acquire the property. Land Conservancy President and CEO Rich Cochran was one of the speakers at Monday's dedication ceremony.
Aug. 26, 2013
first virtual fundraiser
You can help make our important conservation work possible by participating in Imaginature, our first virtual fundraiser. In lieu of holding our wildly popular EverGreen EverBlue gala this year, we are asking friends to take the night off and support us from the comfort of your own home.
Don’t get us wrong – we love staging EverGreen EverBlue, and we will do so again in September 2014. We are simply putting the event on hiatus for a year, giving our organization a chance to regroup from our busiest year ever. Hosting a party for 600 people takes a lot of time and resources – energy the Land Conservancy has been channeling toward its mission.
Please watch for our Imaginature mailing. Instead of spending money on a great party, please make a donation to help us preserve natural areas, farmland and coastlines, and to revitalize our neighborhoods. Every dollar you spend to “attend” Imaginature will be 100 percent tax-deductible.
When we hold EverGreen EverBlue in September 2014, attendees can expect a night of great conversation and a few new additions to excite the senses. We can’t wait. In the meantime, let your Imaginature wander!
July 23, 2013
Rep. Joyce announces major
Great Lakes initiative
The Land Conservancy was one of the organizations on hand July 22 when U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce announced the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013, which will authorize the cleanup and restoration of the Great Lakes region while creating jobs and improving the environmental quality of the lakes. The announcement was made at Lake Metroparks’ Lake Erie Bluffs Park and also included representatives from the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Ducks Unlimited, Ohio Environmental Council, The Nature Conservancy, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force and U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge’s office.
April 29, 2013
Crain's Cleveland Business has named Sarah Ryzner, director of projects for Thriving Communities Institute, to its Who to Watch list for nonprofits. Ryzner joined Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Thriving Communities after working as a real estate lawyer and as a site-acquisition consultant for commercial interests. Sarah, who also holds a master's degree in urban planning from Cleveland State University, is responsible for identifying and managing key real-estate transactions in urban areas and, in conjunction with our partners, promoting healthy land in urban neighborhoods. She also builds relationships and promotes Land Conservancy programs. She lives in Cleveland.
February 20, 2013
Land Conservancy praises
of bill to fund home demolition
Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which launched its Thriving Communities Institute program to address the foreclosure crisis, is applauding a bill introduced by area congressional representatives to establish a bond program to fund demolition of vacant, abandoned and tax-foreclosed homes. Land Conservancy President and CEO Rich Cochran and Thriving Communities Institute Director Jim Rokakis, a national expert on the foreclosure crisis, praised U.S. Reps. David Joyce, Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge for introducing the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act, which would authorize up to $4 billion in new bond allocation for states to help fund demolition.
February 11, 2013
Land Conservancy applauds
renewal of enhanced
Congress has renewed the enhanced income tax deduction for conservation easements through 2013, and retroactive to the beginning of 2012. This incentive will help the Land Conservancy work with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to increase the pace of conservation. Landowners who act quickly to conserve their land can now enjoy these benefits, but they’re currently set to expire December 31, 2013.
Lapses in the enhanced incentive hamper our strategic conservation efforts and are frustrating for landowners. That’s why the Land Conservancy is working so hard to enact legislation to make the enhanced incentive permanent.
February 5, 2013
Land Conservancy president
unveils conservation initiative
for Utica shale region
Land Conservancy President and CEO Rich Cochran today announced the launch of an ambitious and collaborative land conservation plan to help the people and communities of eastern Ohio being impacted by oil and gas exploration. Cochran announced the plan in his afternoon keynote address at the Crain’s Shale Summit 2013 at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven. You can view the presentation here.The initiative will preserve working farms, forests, wildlife areas and waters in the face of the largest external force we have ever encountered. After two years of study, the Land Conservancy has determined that a plan based on collaboration among forward-thinking conservation, economic, political, oil and gas and other representatives has the best chance of succeeding. Cochran urged all those interested in the region and its natural resources to join in the conservation planning efforts.
January 25, 2013
The first comprehensive examination of land conservation in northern Ohio has determined that about 7 percent of the area, or 295,322 acres, in a 14-county region has been preserved – significantly less than the 10- to 15-percent level recommended by local experts. In addition, Common Ground: The regional land protection report for northern Ohio found that 5 percent of the region’s farmland is now protected, meaning that 95 percent of the existing agricultural land – property containing some of the world’s richest soils – could be lost to development.
The report was a collaborative effort by local land conservancies, park systems, community leaders, outdoor groups, soil and water conservation districts, property owners and nonprofit organizations. It was coordinated and funded by Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a Moreland Hills-based nonprofit, with additional support from the Alton F. and Carrie S. Davis Fund and the Sandra L. and Dennis B. Haslinger Family Foundation.
January 10, 2013
Land Conservancy merges with
Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation
Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation, a 20-year-old nonprofit that has worked to preserve the Little Beaver Creek watershed in Columbiana County, is merging with Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the state’s largest land trust.
Under terms of the merger, the Land Conservancy will assume responsibility for monitoring the approximately 184 acres currently protected by conservation easements held by LBCLF. In addition, LBCLF will be represented on the Land Conservancy’s board of trustees. The merger took effect Jan. 1.
January 3, 2013
Kathy Obert Hill joins
our leadership team
Kathy Obert Hill, who headed one of the region’s top public relations agencies for 10 years, has been appointed Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer for the nonprofit Land Conservancy. Obert Hill, who was board chair and chief executive officer of Edward Howard & Co. before negotiating the 2010 sale of the firm to Fahlgren Inc., will serve on the Land Conservancy’s executive team and oversee stakeholder engagement, including development, communications and marketing, government relations, education and events.
December 3, 2012
Streetsboro wetlands are
A 116-acre parcel containing high-quality wetlands and three rare species has been permanently preserved, thanks to a partnership between the city of Streetsboro, the Land Conservancy, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. The action means the property, located on state Route 303, can never be developed. The city owns the parcel, which was formerly owned by the Verna Beck Trust, and will manage it as a nature preserve.
October 12, 2012
has a new home
A generous, unsolicited gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous has enabled the Land Conservancy to build a new campus and conservation center in Moreland Hills. The facility, which relocates the Land Conservancy’s headquarters from Chesterland, officially opens this week. About two-thirds of the Land Conservancy’s 35-member staff will be based in Moreland Hills, with the rest working from field offices in Cleveland, Akron, Oberlin, Medina, Painesville, Orwell and Orrville.
Located at 3850 Chagrin River Road, the project that created the Land Conservancy’s new home was part of a six-year, multi-phase land protection project that permanently preserved about 135 acres in Moreland Hills, creating beautiful, publicly accessible hiking trails and further extending Forest Ridge Preserve. A painstakingly restored (and recycled) 5,000-square-foot historic century home and newly constructed, environmentally-responsible 11,000-square-foot addition will now house the Land Conservancy’s main office.
October 2, 2012
Portage Co. landowners
can conmment on plan
Landowners with more than one acre of woods in northwest Portage County are invited to take a short survey toward the development of an area forestry strategy, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry. The public is also invited to review the draft plan and provide comments.
The broad-scale forest management plan will be designed to benefit landowners in several communities and townships in northwest Portage County, including Freedom, Hiram, Mantua and Shalersville townships and the communities of Aurora and Streetsboro. The Land Conservancy has been involved in a number of land-protection projects in this region.
Comments and the survey will be accepted through Oct. 31. The draft plan and survey are available online at http://ohiodnr.com/Default.aspx?tabid=24131 or by contacting Jason Van Houten at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 265-6703.
Sept. 8, 2012
New video debuts
at EverGreen EverBlue
The Land Conservancy unveiled its new video to guests at Saturday's annual EverGreen EverBlue benefit at Sandy and Claire McMillan's Mountain Glen Farm in Concord Township. The event raises funding and awareness for the organization. If you missed the debut of the video, you can watch it here.
June 7, 2012
Demolition grant info
is now available
Communities seeking demolition funding from the Ohio Attorney General's Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program can find information here on our Thriving Communities Institute website. Thriving Communities, which helps counties form land banks, hosted the first of two strategic planning workshops June 7 at Walsh University's Barrette Center in North Canton.
May 1, 2012
Scene Magazine is
media sponsor for
Scene Magazine has been named the official media sponsor for the Land Conservancy's third annual Conservation Rocks! concert on Friday, June 8 at at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in Cleveland. The concert features performers who also work locally in the field of conservation. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the Beachland's box office or the Land Conservancy.
March 28, 2012
viewed as a plus
for Stark County
The Canton Repository has published an in-depth story on how the fledgling Stark County Land Bank could help neighborhoods in Massillon, Canton and elsewhere by safely securing abandoned homes and vacant lots. Thriving Communities Institute has been working with Stark County officials to establish the land bank. You can read the story here.
March 22, 2012Demolition bonds
aim to prevent
'tsunami of blight'
Reporter Jennifer DePaul of The Bond Buyer has written a timely piece on a bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Steve LaTourette and Marcia Fudge that would provide $4 billion for states and land banks to issue demolition bonds to raze demolish vacant, foreclosed and abandoned homes across the country to prevent “a tsunami of blight.” Jim Rokakis, director of the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, helped craft the bill and is quoted in the story.
February 24, 2012
Conservation loses a
The passing of Dick Grimm, who died at his home on Wednesday night, is a huge loss for conservation community and our region. Mr. Grimm, a member of our Board of Trustees, was a friend and true leader. The entire Land Conservancy family is deeply saddened by his passing and extends its sympathy to his wife Sue and their family. President and CEO Rich Cochran described Mr. Grimm as “a transforming leader of the Land Conservancy. He was also an amazing husband, father, grandfather and friend. He was one of the best friends I have ever had.”
February 10, 2012
New hope for
December 19, 2011
Missed '60 Minutes'?
You can watch here
If you were unable to catch Jim Rokakis, director of the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, on "60 Minutes" on Sunday, you can view the full segment here. For additional video footage and interviews, click on "What's next for Cleveland?" "Foreclosures spread to suburbs" or "Foreclosure scavengers go high tech." For more information on Thriving Communities Institute, vist our new website at www.thrivingcommunitiesinstitute.org.