When Canadian and American conservation professionals created the U.S. charity named American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts in 2006, they expected land trusts would partner with the new organization to protect Canada’s natural heritage. And they were right! Since completing our first land donation in 2011, American Friends and its land trust partners in five provinces have permanently protected approximately 3,000 acres comprising 26 high priority properties. These land and easement gifts from over 40 individual US taxpayers have an appraised value of close to $17M USD. In addition, in the past six years alone, Friends has made grants totaling nearly $3.5M USD to its Canadian partners.
Happily, over the years, government agencies, First Nations, educational institutions and a variety of conservation advocacy entities have also advanced their conservation missions through partnerships with American Friends.
Recently, American Friends’ board decided the organization needed a new name to better reflect the full range of current and potential partnerships. They chose American Friends of Canadian Conservation to express the full spectrum of possible collaborations and the extent of the impact we hope to have within the Canadian conservation community.
The majority of American Friends’ completed land and conservation easement transactions were collaborations with Canadian land trusts. They range from some of Canada’s largest and most capable, including Nova Scotia Nature Trust and Bruce Trail Conservancy, to some of the newest, all-volunteer organizations. American Friends’ commitment to Canada’s land trust community is unwavering. We have seen how much value our cooperative projects have produced in terms of mentoring, experience, financial support and mission achievement. Building a bigger network of entities involved in cross-border conservation will also help American Friends build its own capacity to assist land trusts by making our organization more sustainable.
We are delighted by the cross-border conservation and funding opportunities American Friends is receiving from government agencies and other partners such as provincial parks agencies, municipal governments and Ontario conservation authorities. We’ve recently begun working with First Nations too. This wider array of partners means that American Friends is able to better achieve its dual objectives of protecting ecologically significant lands in Canada that are owned by US taxpayers and bringing additional financial support from the USA.
Educating all parties involved in cross-border conservation will also continue to be a high priority for American Friends, because we can have an expansive impact by sharing our unique knowledge about bi-national tax incentives. The new website has updated and new resources for land conservation organizations, landowners and their professional advisors. Download and share Save Some Green: a handbook for US taxpayers who own land in Canada. This publication is a product of American Friends’ partnership with the Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) It is an excellent starting place for anyone who wants to understand the valuable financial incentives available to US landowners who donate title to or an easement on their Canadian properties. Print copies of Save Some Green are available from American Friends or OLTA.
All of us at American Friends look forward to working with our existing and future partners to increase financial and land donations from US taxpayers who care about a special part of Canada and want to protect strategic properties they own in a financially realistic way!
For more information please contact Program Coordinator, Sandra Tassel, at 360-515-7171 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.