"Relegating conservation to government is like relegating virtue to the Sabbath. Turns over to professionals what should be the daily work of amateurs"- Aldo Leopold
Many landowners don't know their land conservation options. When faced with a decision about the future of their land, many landowners turn to trusted friends and neighbors.
The Neighbor Conservation Network is a local group of trusted community members trained to provide relevant conservation information to landowners at critical land conservation decision points.
The network is intended to be voluntary and informal, not a standing committee that would be another competing obligation to already overloaded schedules.
The Neighbor Conservation Network allows landowners to access information, when they need it, provided by the people they naturally turn to for information - friends and neighbors. This network also extends the reach of conservation organizations by being on-the-ground facilitators of conservation projects.
The members of the network are also given high-quality maps prioritizing conservation values in their community in the form of a land conservation guide. The Connecting for Conservation Guide allows communities to identify conservation partners by determining a parcel's conservation value(s). The guide was developed with town specific maps that give detailed information about parcels of highest conservation value. A conservation worksheet is provided to assist community member in determining the appropriate conservation organization, including their contact information.
The guide also includes a description of conservation tools, local conservation organizations, suggestions on how to approach land owners about conservation, and a description of the state's “current use” program's right-of-first refusal option.
Although the guide was developed for specific towns in the highlands of western Massachusetts, the Neighbor Conservation Network approach and much of the information in the guide is relevent to most communities in Massachusetts, and beyond.