What is Community Conservation?

A Long-term Sustainability Strategy

Community Conservation is a new focus of the national land conservation movement in the United States.

Community Conservation is a critical long-term sustainability strategy that builds meaningful connections and relationships between a land trust, the community in which the land trust works, and nature. You need all three legs of this stool to be strong and engaged for efforts to preserve the land to stand up to the test of time in the long-term.

Reconnecting Modern Society to Nature – A Cultural Realignment

A cultural realignment with nature at the center, which land trusts can assist with through Community Conservation work, will ensure our great legal and scientific tools used to protect nature are not dismissed by a modern, wired society largely disconnected from the natural world.

One of the ways in which we can explore the concept of Community Conservation is to examine it within the context of the evolving land conservation field and the cross-cultural phenomenon of natural sacred places. We must ask what we can learn from various cultures, traditions, and their relationships with nature – for example, by exploring how Hawaiian, Native American and other indigenous cultures relate to the natural world.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

– Aldo Leopold

Our Community Conservation Initiatives

It takes a community to succeed with the mission of permanently protecting Mount Diablo and its associated open space lands in a densely developed and competitive real estate market like the Bay Area.

Because of you, our great community, we have been able to start a number of Community Conservation initiatives that are building deeper connections between our community, nature and Save Mount Diablo.

For example:

Save Mount Diablo’s Conservation Collaboration Agreement Program

Our new Conservation Collaboration Agreement program for local schools and businesses has been supported by educational and corporate leaders.

A Conservation Collaboration Agreement has three basic parts:

 1) First, the staff of SMD provide in-class educational presentations regarding land conservation of the Mount Diablo area to the participating students and also to the employees at their office.

2) Second, SMD staff teach and lead the participating students and employees in an outdoor, experiential environmental service project at one of SMD’s conserved properties which also includes a mini solo on the land for each participant where they do a contemplative journal writing exercise about nature.

3) Finally, in an act of educational and participatory philanthropy, the business will provide SMD memberships for all of its employees while the students will raise funds so that they can become members of SMD through SMD’s youth membership program.

“I cannot express my appreciation enough to how special I thought yesterday was.  I walked away feeling so good about our community, the Moraga School District, our next generation, our beautiful Bay Area landscape, the Save Mt. Diablo organization and my staff as individuals and as a unit. We all literally got our hands dirty with the goal of making a difference to the students and investing in a better future while preserving our present. Thanks to all of you for making this happen.”

“The partnership between Save Mount Diablo and Campolindo High School will provide local students with a unique opportunity to both learn about our environment and serve the community. The students will refine their scientific skills and learn how to become stewards of our local resources.”

John Walker, Principal, Campolindo High School

“The Campolindo Science Department is passionate about providing our students with outdoor education and stewardship opportunities that connect them with the natural world. We are thrilled to be working with Save Mount Diablo, as they are providing our students with both, as well as providing excellent role models who are acting locally to protect land on behalf of people, and on behalf of wildlife. There is much bad news when studying environmental science – it is very encouraging and empowering for our students to engage with an organization that is accomplishing so much in terms of land conservancy and habitat restoration,”

Jane Kelson, Teacher, Campolindo High School

“Campolindo Environmental Science students are so excited to partner with Save Mount Diablo to turn their passion into action, practice what they have been learning about all year long, and work to restore such an important environment so close to their community.”

Tren Kauzer, Teacher, Campolindo High School

Save Mount Diablo Conservation Collaborative:

A Program Connecting Kids with Nature

Broadcasted on NBC Bay Area—April 28, 2019