Community Conservation

December 20, 2022
Conservation News

Conservation for All Communities

On the eve of the 40th Anniversary of the Peconic Land Trust, we take time to celebrate all that has been accomplished and acknowledge the support of many throughout these four decades. Truly, without your help, the conservation of working farms, woodlands, hilltops, and shorelines would not have been possible. Throughout, our work has not only focused on the land, but also the people who work the land as well as those who appreciate the importance of protecting it.

Our 40th Anniversary is also a time to reflect on the impact we have had on the health and well-being of the communities we serve across Long Island, and to ask ourselves: How can we better serve the needs of all communities? In addition to providing people with access to woodlands and trails, local farms and fresh food, clean drinking water, wetlands, and bays, what are new ways to engage those with different life experiences than our own? How do we broaden our impact so that we are relevant to one and all? We know that the best way to answer these questions is to listen to, and engage with, those we seek to serve.

We recognize that our conservation successes would not have been possible without the involvement of many people in local communities. Whether we gather neighbors to provide private dollars to match public funds toward the protection of a beloved farm or to fund critical research and remediation to restore our impaired coastal ponds, we have a history of engaging people. Most recently, we have invested funds provided by you to build better trails so that more people can access the land that we have protected. We have also made it possible for Spanish-speaking people to enjoy interpretive signage at preserves in their native language. While we have accomplished a lot to engage the diverse communities around us, there is more work to be done and further questions have to be considered.

Who have we left behind?

Land trusts across the country are talking about Community Conservation. In essence, it is an approach to conservation in which community engagement and the application of the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion are incorporated into every aspect of land conservation. As such, land trusts are acknowledging inequities related to access and are recommitting themselves to conserving not just land but also community access to land and the natural world. In our case, it means working with our indigenous communities to protect and restore ancestral lands for ceremonial and other purposes, increasing access to locally grown food through community gardens and food pantries, expanding access to nature with accessible trails, and providing educational-based activities that connect people to the world around us. These are elements of Community Conservation, and the basis of our efforts to connect and grow a diverse conservation community.

What new partnerships does the future hold for the Trust and its staff?

We are looking forward to building new connections, broadening the scope of our work, and learning from our neighbors how we can be helpful, relevant, and authentic in accomplishing their community’s conservation goals.

What is Community Conservation?

1. Respond to community need.
2. Connect people with place.
3. Create opportunities for people to get involved.
4. Energize the community.
5. Provide public access.
6. Broaden the land trust’s reach.
7. Provide lasting and meaningful impact.

Source: Land Trust Alliance

Community Conservation In Action

Since our founding, the tenets of community conservation have been an integral part of our work. Here are a few of our recent projects that reflect the connection with you – our community


Sugar Loaf Preserve, Shinnecock Hills

Sugar Loaf Hill Summit, sacred land of the Shinnecock people, was protected in July 2021. The Trust is working closely with the Shinnecock Graves Protection Warrior Society to restore the land.


Andy Duffy, Louise Harrison, Holly Sanford (Trust Senior Project Manager), Cassie Kanz, Isabelle Kanz, Phoebe Faint and Oliver Faint at the Soundview Avenue Preserve.

Soundview Avenue Preserve, Southold

“I am deeply grateful to the Trust and all the committed people who joined in this effort to protect our fragile and increasingly rare, East End forests.” – Isabelle Kanz on the community conservation effort to create the Soundview Avenue Preserve in Southold.


Condzella Farm, Wading River

The Condzella Family has farmed in Wading River for 100 years. Donors from all over the East End worked together to raise funds so the Trust will be able to purchase easements on their land and allow their family farm legacy to continue.


Georgica Pond, Wainscott

Located on the corner of Montauk Highway and Wainscott Stone Road in East Hampton, a former commercial property is being transformed into a viable wetlands area for a healthier Georgica Pond. The Trust looks forward to working with both the Town of East Hampton and the Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation with ongoing efforts to reduce storm water run-off into the pond from the nearby roads.

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