Bear Creek in Walker County, Ga., part of protected land in OSI-funded project in northwest Georgia.

 A recent report by The Open Space Institute highlights conservation work in northwest Georgia, a success story in which Georgia Land Trust played a major role.

Here is the link to the publication, Protecting the Best: Wildlife Habitat Conservation in Northwest Georgia, which outlines the work of the  Northwest Georgia Land Protection Fund, created in 2007 in part with capital contributions from the Lyndhurst and Benwood foundations.

The fund provided grants and loans to protect ecologically significant landscapes in a million-acre region in the northwest corner of Georgia, a center of biodiversity in the southern Appalachians. Several of the resulting permanent conservation easements were completed by Georgia Land Trust.

We at Georgia Land Trust are excited and proud to be a part of this successful program, managed by OSI and funded by top conservation Foundations.

Targeting projects identified on Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan, the fund disbursed $1.7 million in grants and $408,000 in loans to land trusts and state agencies to protect 5,300 acres. Every dollar invested by the fund was matched by 12 additional dollars from land trusts and supportive landowners.

In introducing the report, Peter Howell, executive vice president for The Open Space Institute, said that Protecting the Best: Wildlife Habitat Conservation in Northwest Georgia illustrates how philanthropy can be effective through focus, leverage, and collaboration. It also highlights what it takes to achieve success on the ground and how much more there is to accomplish— not just in northwest Georgia, but elsewhere in the southern Appalachian.

He also said the Northwest Georgia Land Protection Fund provides a proven and replicable model, and the vision and perseverance of conservation groups—including those profiled in the Fund Summary—inspire hope that success will not be confined to northwest Georgia alone.

Read more about OSI’s conservation efforts at