Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Amateur vs. Professional

It has been fascinating to watch the debate sparked by Gerrit Stover's letter (see below). Before the letter, the national "debate" on the LTA's accreditation plan on the land trust listserv was as silent as a still snowy night in January. After the letter.... kaboom. Gerrit struck a nerve. The letter questions whether the plan will force small, mostly volunteer land trusts to "professionalize" or go out of business. There seems to be much pent up anger on the part of the small land trusts, and more than a touch of suspicion that these measures are meant to crowd the little guy out.
There also seems to be a sense of resignation that maybe the land trust movement has reached an inevitable point of maturity. That the freewheeling days of a few volunteers saving local land is on the way out. That the institutionalization phase has begun, and that these rules are going to make it too expensive for the little guys to stick around. There is an acknowledgment that something has to be done to stop the few bad actors who are twisting the rules to their benefit. But it's tinged with anger that the people who have been playing by the rules are going to be the ones who suffer. Much of the anger, frankly, has been aimed at The Nature Conservancy. There seems to be a feeling that land trusts are feeling this heat because of mistakes by TNC as chronicled by the Washington Post. And now it's only the big guys like TNC that will be able to afford the back office staff to comply with the new rules.
I hope not. There's so much passion in these arguments, so much love for what the local trusts are are doing. I really hope that the people who are trying to save the planet one acre at a time don't become the babies being thrown out with the bath water.


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker