Friday, November 16, 2007

Alcoa Foundation Awards $200,000 Grant to California Land Conservancy

NEW YORK CITY — Alcoa Foundation announced today a $200,000, two-year grant that will enable the California Council of Land Trusts (CCLT) to implement a program that identifies and addresses the impacts of climate change on land and water conserved by California land trusts. The CCLT is a statewide association for more than 150 land trusts devoted to conserving special lands and waters throughout California.

"In many respects, land trusts will be at the forefront of dealing with climate change. This project will address the needs of land trusts and the local communities they serve by increasing land trusts' knowledge and understanding of California's response to climate change, how their conservation programs can provide climate benefits, and the possible changes needed in their stewardship and protection activities," said Darla Guenzler, executive director of CCLT.

Land trusts are the current U.S. leaders in permanently protecting forests, grasslands and other natural resource lands which can make a significant, positive contribution to climate change due to the capacity of these lands to sequester carbon dioxide.

Aspects of the project include creating a planning model to assist land trusts in developing adaptations for their stewardship and conservation activities in light of possible climate change impacts, and improving communications to increase understanding within local communities about long-term stewardship needs and issues, and how climate change can be expected to bring about significant changes to important open space lands that the public currently enjoys.

As part of the program, CCLT will bring together scientists, communication specialists, other experts and land trusts in a series of events and workshops to develop pertinent information.

The project will have several specific products, including presentations and materials, adaptation plans as well as a model for plan development, and a report with positioning, messages guidelines and recommendations for communications about long term stewardship with an emphasis on climate change.

The results of the project are expected to bring benefits to the general public through ensuring that conservation efforts undertaken by land trusts will be better adapted to changing climate. This effort should also bring about better information about climate change impacts and open spaces in local communities, which provide a variety of benefits, including education, exercise and recreation.

Alcoa Foundation is a separately constituted nonprofit U.S. corporate foundation with assets of approximately $534 million. Its mission is to actively invest in the quality of life in Alcoa communities worldwide. Throughout its history, the Foundation has been a source of positive community change and enhancement, with nearly $437 million invested since 1952.

The California Council of Land Trusts (CCLT) is a statewide association for more than 150 land trusts devoted to conserving special lands and waters throughout California. The Council works to increase funding, advance policy solutions and build strong laws for conservation, raise awareness about the benefits of land and water conservation, and provide research and education to increase land trust effectiveness. CCLT is guided by a governing body of land trusts and conservationists throughout California.

Alcoa Foundation is funding a variety of projects related to climate change and conservation. Perhaps this program will offer up a new model to help communities throughout the United States and the world address concerns about climate change.

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