In August, CTNC approved 16 grants to 15 land trusts for a total of $127,000. Land trusts will use the grants to protect more land and engage a broader cross-section of the public in their work. The funded projects focus on four strategic areas: reconnecting children with nature; opening more protected lands for public enjoyment; working with ethnically and economically diverse communities; and protecting foreclosed properties that have high conservation value.

CTNC originally received funding from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation as part of a two-year, $310,000 grant to help land trusts conserve more land and expand outreach. ZSR is a longstanding generous supporter of land conservation. CTNC manages the grant on behalf of the land trusts.

Two of the grant-winning projects are:

The NC Coastal Land Trust received $15,000 to make available to the City of Wilmington’s Parks and Recreation Department a 39-acre tract over which it holds a conservation easement and management rights. The property is located in the heart of Wilmington, adjoins Alderman Elementary School, and is close to the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail. The property includes wetlands and pinelands and is home to the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden that hosts a profusion of venus flytraps, pitcher plants, and sundews. The Garden is the site of the “Flytrap Frolic,” NCCLT’s children’s environmental education event. The partners plan to develop the entire tract as a nature preserve with a network of nature trails, elevated boardwalks, and a connection to the Cross-City Trail, and to greatly expand the number of children who visit this special place.

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) received $15,000 to initiate its Community Farm & Food Project – Access to Land, Livelihood, and Learning, at a 100-acre farm in Buncombe County recently donated to the organization. SAHC will use the grant to create: an agricultural business incubator for new and beginning farmers; an agriculture-based job and life skills training site for citizens of underprivileged communities; an agricultural and environmental education center for youth and young adults; and a public, interpretive trail.

In the last eight years, CTNC has passed through more than $10 million in such grants from foundations and government agencies to local land trusts.