A basic precept I learned long ago and repeatedly experienced during my forty-year career in land and biodiversity conservation in North Carolina and the southern U.S. confirms that most conservation successes are the result of committed leadership combined with collaborative partnerships among private organizations and public agencies that recognize shared goals and mutual benefits. Seldom have I witnessed a major success in environmental resource conservation that was not achieved through the advocacy of a few dedicated, individual leaders in combination with the support of a coalition of private and public agencies who share a sense of common purpose and mutually held goals. Most successful leaders recognize the power of collaboration and partnership.
But whereas there have been numerous examples of collaborative partnerships among land OR water OR wildlife conservation organizations, coalitions of shared interests across artificial dividing lines between land/water/wildlife conservation have been slower to develop. . . .
Too often we work in self-segregated and uncoordinated isolation in efforts to conserve and protect natural lands and wildlife habitats, rivers and estuaries, public parks and reserved community green places. Failure to coordinate efforts through cooperative alliances diminishes our ability to be effective in aim to protect and conserve more land and water resources.
North Carolina’s environmental protection and land conservation organizations—motivated by the state’s 20-year-old grants program that provides funding for combined land and water conservation projects—have worked together more closely than in many other states, and may serve as an example of how to build partnerships across the South. Until recently,when the North Carolina state legislature and governor drastically reduced funding and combined several of the Clean Water and other environmental trust fund programs, state funding for environmental trust funds in some years exceeded the $100 million annual goal. With the added benefit of privately contributed funds, federal government matching grants, and landowners’ frequent willingness to sell land or easements for conservation at substantially less than appraised value, the leveraging effect of these public funds produced magnificent accomplishments. . . .
Conservation, viewed in its entirety, is the slow and laborious unfolding of a new relationship between people and land.
There is in fact no distinction between the fate of the land and the fate of the people. When one is abused, the other suffers.
From the President
SCP President Chuck Roe looked at land conservation along the route of John Muir's "Southern Trek."
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