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Land preservation group looks for more members

A membership drive is underway to get more people interested in land preservation before an existing land trust that’s hoping to expand reorganizes as early as next month.
The Clark’s Valley Land Trust, formed in 1999, held one of its regular meetings last week in Corydon. Board member Amil Kleinert gave a brief history of the group, explaining that the non-profit, community-based voluntary group was organized as a tool for landowners who want another method to preserve their land for future generations or to balance development areas with agricultural land, scenic open spaces and wildlife habitat.
‘Our intention is to bring several counties together to have one tool,’ Kleinert said at the meeting held Nov. 1 at the Harrison County Annex Building.
He said Harrison County is a driving force behind expanding membership in the land trust to include residents here.
‘As we evolve, more people, hopefully, will be involved,’ said Kleinert. He noted that some areas of the country have had organized land trusts for some time. ‘This is fairly new in our area.’
Kleinert and co-board member Pat Larr attended last month’s meeting of the Harrison County Farm, Forest and Open Space Preservation Task Force to invite the 21-member board to join forces with them. They told how federal money has been made available to Indiana for land preservation but no one had applied because mechanisms were not in place to receive the money.
By expanding the existing land trust to include others like the task force here, they hope some property might voluntarily be placed into protection.
‘Harrison County’s done the most to be ready for such a program,’ Kleinert said.
Last week, he and Larr distributed copies of Clark’s Valley’s mission statement and by-laws.
‘We envision the majority of the board coming out of Harrison County’ when it’s restructured, Kleinert said. ‘At the same time, we don’t want to walk away from it.’
Larr added, ‘It will be based on interest and availability.’
Copies of the Land Trust Standards and Practices used by the Land Trust Alliance were also handed out last week.
‘We’re not a member yet’ of the Alliance due to the expense, Larr told the nine others at last week’s meeting. She recommended the group review the 13 pages of standards and practices, which have to be adopted by the Clark’s Valley Land Trust before the group can join the Alliance.
‘It’s important to maintain high standards in everything we do,’ Larr said.
Membership categories for the Clark’s Valley Land Trust are: $15, student member; $30, supporting member; $100, sponsor; $500, patron, and $1,000, founder. Contributions can be mailed to Clark’s Valley Land Trust, 9608 S.R. 62, Suite 2, Charlestown, IN 47111.
‘Even though we’ve done a lot of groundwork, there’s still a lot to do,’ said Kleinert. ‘Whatever we do isn’t going to be for everybody.’