The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust is looking for a new team member. We have an immediate opening for the position of term land steward.

Term Land Stewards are temporary employees, hired to assist the Land Trust with monitoring of protected lands through aerial reconnaissance and field inspection, which requires significant travel and frequent overnight stay. Monitoring requires individuals to have field orientation, manage diverse terrain, and work independently in remote areas.

Additionally, these individuals will create Baseline Documentation Reports for new conservation easement projects. Many of these projects require travel, often to southwest Georgia. Term Land Stewards report to the Stewardship Director and are responsible for the following tasks: gathering project materials, conducting environmental field assessments, documenting conservation values and current conservation easement conditions through photographs, maps, and written reports. Additional duties include

Term Land Stewards report to the Stewardship Director and are responsible for the following tasks: gathering project materials, conducting environmental field assessments, documenting conservation values and current conservation easement conditions through photographs, maps, and written reports. Additional duties include completing and submitting annual monitoring assignments as scheduled, communication with landowners for obtaining permission to access properties, conducting and documenting site visits, maintaining and submitting reports, invoices, and tracking for mileage, work hours, expenses, and property modifications.

Additionally, these Land Stewards will be trained to handle Reserved Right Requests and Land Transfers. During this term, 40% of the Land Steward’s time will be devoted to site monitoring, and 60% drafting baseline documentation reports. Applicants should be committed to working on a diverse array of conservation properties with the ability to effectively communicate with landowners and staff.

General Requirements include but are not limited to the following:

  • Bachelor of Science Degree (biology, ecology, forestry, environmental science or related field).
  • 2 Years related experience in land protection, ecological land management or equivalent combination of experience and education. (This may be negotiable with Master’s Degree)
  • Knowledge of and experience with ArcGIS Desktop (10.0 version or higher).
  • Field skills for navigating, surveying and mapping landscapes and features, including use of GPS and handheld devices.
  • Competency of standard computer software including MS Word and Excel
  • Ability to conduct independent research online for obtaining tax parcels.
  • Ability to read title and warranty deed land descriptions.
  • Understanding conservation practices and natural resource preservation.
  • Understanding Southeast biodiversity and land management practices; including, flora and fauna, timber and agricultural practices, and wetland and water resources.
  • Physical ability to hike, perform labor-intensive activities and fly in small aircraft.

To apply, submit applications to Amy Gaddy, Interim Stewardship Director, Georgia Alabama Land Trust, Inc., 226 Old Ladiga Road, Piedmont, AL 36272 or email to stewardship@galandtrust.org . Applications should include a cover letter, resume, and references. Additionally, it is preferred that example maps are included with the resume, as mapping will be included in most aspects of this position.

For a look at the complete job description, please click HERE.

 

 

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust has an immediate opening for director of finance and personnel.

The director position responsibilities include overseeing accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliations, month-end financials, annual budget preparation, monthly forecasting, and analysis of performance.  Extensive financial management of special programs including related companies and affiliates. The director also oversees and manages all aspects of human resources and personnel.  Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to the following :

  • Review and verify vendor invoices, obtaining project manager approval prior to preparing payment
  • Receive payments and code to correct program
  • Maintain donation and grant tracking
  • Prepare weekly Cash Position and Program Invoice Tracking updates
  • Prepare monthly Budget versus Actual by program
  • Quarterly and end of year report preparation in final form for presentation to Finance and Investment Committee (Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Statement, Budget versus Actual and Fund Restriction Status)
  • Special Programs management (ACUB, Habitat, ILF and CVLT) and maintain highly detailed records
  • Prepare annual budget for the land trust and affiliate
  • Assist outside auditor with annual financial audit of the land trust and affiliate, including 990 preparation
  • Oversee personnel duties to include payroll, taxes, leave, and all related entries
  • Oversee processing new hires and maintenance of personnel files
  • Manage 403(b) retirement plan; including communication with related staff, payroll submissions, adding and removing employees and making necessary edits
  • Manage wireless plans for staff, which includes cell phone and tablet access

General requirements for the position include the following:

  • B.S. in Accounting or Finance
  • Non-Profit Accounting experience desirable
  • Two to four years of experience in a similar position
  • Experience with QuickBooks or similar accounting software; advanced Excel skills.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
  • Strong organizational, analytical and interpersonal skills.

For a complete job description click HERE.  Deadline for submission is July 20th, 2016. Please submit a cover letter and resume to info@galandtrust.org.

 

A crowd of over a hundred gathered to learn about creek critters and watch little rubber duckies race at the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust’s third annual Duck Derby.

All the little yellow fellows crossed the finish line to the delight of the crowd, especially all the kids. Earlier in the day those same kids spent the day catching bugs, learning how to detect venomous snakes, and how to be safe on the water. One of our partners, the Anniston Museum of Natural History lent us two birds of prey, a red-tailed hawk and an owl, to teach kids about birds and bird migration.

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Renee Raney with Bobo the Owl.

Money raised at this year’s event will fund our new conservation education institute. The outreach program, led by Conservation Director Renee Raney, is an effort to educate the young about the importance of preserving special places. She says,”Today’s children spend less time outside than any previous generation. Playing outside creates a connection between life and land, building our future conservationists!”

A Big thank you goes out to all of the participants, duck adopters, volunteers, door prize donors, and our hosts, Mike and Kat at Terrapin Outdoor Center and Hank and Teresa at Red Neck Yacht Club. A special thank you to Cheaha State Park Cooperative Extension Service, and Wells Fargo for their support.  We cannot wait until next year! (Hint: It’s June 3rd, 2017!)

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Coming June 4th, Terrapin Creek will be invaded by Pirate Ducks! The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust and our Conservation Education Institute will host a Third Annual Duck Derby and Wild Child education event along Terrapin Creek. No real ducks are used in this race, only the rubber kind.

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust’s new Conservation Education InIMG_4521stitute (CEI) will be presenting diverse learning stations for kids from pre-k to grey. There will be a hay ride, bug hunt, a bird migration game, a 4-H River Kids safety course, and live animals, including reptiles and birds of prey.

Children will complete a Passport to Conservation as they engage in fun activities. Toy prizes will be awarded for passport participation. Partners include Alabama State Parks, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, and the Anniston Museum of Natural History.

The event begins at 10am at the Terrapin Outdoor Center and Redneck Yacht Club on County Road 175 just above Piedmont, AL off of Alabama Highway 9. Live music begins at noon, plus we will serve FREE hot dogs until they are gone!

For more information call 256-447-1006 or adopt your duck HERE
and get your Pirates of the Terrapin t-shirt.  You can also check out our website at www.galandtrust.org for the latest information.

Our affiliate, the Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust(CVLT), has an opening for a program manager. The position oversees the land protection program for the sixteen county region around Columbus, Georgia, including three counties in Eastern Alabama.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Working with landowners to protect land through conservation easementsCVLT logo
  • managing conservation projects
  • visiting properties to identify conservation values
  • communicating with staff attorneys regarding project details
  • preparing project proposals, and related project documents; and the ongoing management and follow up to ensure project completion
  • cultivating landowner relationships in furtherance of the CVLT mission is crucial
  • demonstrate ties to the Columbus area and prior dealings or contacts with community landowners, professionals, officials, and other interested stakeholders would be beneficial

The Program Manager is also responsible for the day-to-day management of the CVLT office, including file management, returning phone calls and preparation of board materials. This position reports to the ACUB Program Director / Legal Director.  Salary is commensurate with experience and skill set.

For a full listing of responsibilties click HERE.

Please submit your letter of interest and résumé to Hal Robinson at hrobinson@galandtrust.org.  Email inquiries only, please.

Want to play in the woods and get paid to do it? This summer the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust will have a paid summer intern program funded by Legacy Partners in Environmental Education.  The program is part of the Darryl Gates Memorial Summer College Internship Program.GAALLandTrustConservationInstitute2Color

Interns will work full-time for a minimum of eight weeks and must be rising Juniors or Seniors in good academic standing.  Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a relevant undergraduate degree program at a four-year college or university in the state of Alabama. The program is looking for students who are enrolled in a variety of environmentally-related fields, such as environmental education or engineering; environmental studies; teaching degrees in science, biology, or related field; environmental law; or other related career paths.  Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale as of Fall quarter/semester 2015, and are planning to be enrolled full-time through the fall of 2016.

Our intern will be working with our new Conservation Education Institute and will assit with the development, implementation, and assessment of immersion-based programs, outdoor adventure workshops, and other fun events that connect people to nature. The intern will also have opportunities to work in land protection, easement monitoring, land management practices and conservation field surveys.

For more information or an application click HERE.

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust is proud to be a project participant in a national conservation program recently announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced $720 million in nationwide funding for another round of conservation projects in 50 states. This funding is a continuation of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), first funded by the federal government in the 2014 Farm Bill. Under this program, the USDA teams with several conservation groups, including the Land Trust, to preserve open space and natural habitats.

In last year’s funding, $1.25 million dollars were specifically allocated toward a 2,300 acre protection project near Fort Stewart, which the Land Trust is in the process of finalizing. That project not only furthers the Department of Agriculture’s RCPP program, it also contributes to a low-density, compatible use buffer surrounding Fort Stewart.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

“It’s important for us to maintain the installation where we can train the way we fight, but not be constrained with a worry of smoke or noise or dust going off the installation [and impacting our neighbors],” said Tim Beaty, Chief of Fish & Wildlife at Ft. Stewart.

“Restoration is also part of this project,” said Executive Director Katherine Eddins, “ restoring and maintaining the long leaf pine that once dominated the landscape has helped bring back the red-cockaded woodpecker, the indigo snake and the gopher tortoise. We are so excited to continue to work with Fort Stewart and surrounding land owners on this important conservation mission. “

“We put out a call for innovative and results-focused projects that will deliver the most conservation impact,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Our partners answered with creative, locally-led approaches to help producers support their ongoing business operations and address natural resource challenges in their communities and across the nation.”

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust has been working with Fort Stewart for many years and is directly responsible for protecting over 30,000 acres of land surrounding the installation.

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The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust announces the signing of a conservation easement with Stuckey Timberland that will create a 2,194 acre tract  in Twiggs County, Georgia.

Known as Bear Creek Reserve, the property is located in the heart of the black bear habitat in central Georgia and is home to the highest concentration of black bears per acre in Georgia.

The University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources conduct ongoing studies of the bear population at Bear Creek.

Russell Franklin,III, Mike Harrell, Wade Hall, Lynda Stuckey Franklin, Kat Nelson, with the Land Trust, and Jay W. Gould-Stuckey

Russell Franklin,III, Mike Harrell, Wade Hall, Lynda Stuckey Franklin, Kat Nelson, with the Land Trust, and Jay W. Gould-Stuckey

While retaining timber management rights on the upland portions of the tract, Stuckey Timberland’s grant of a conservation easement perpetually preserves the expansive hardwood bottom lands and the standing hardwood trees which are critical to the bear population. Additionally, the easement protects the upland areas from future development.

Based in Eastman, Georgia, Stuckey Timberland is owned by the W. S. Stuckey family. Second generation family members W. S. (Bill) Stuckey, Jr. and Lynda Stuckey Franklin and Stuckey Timberland President and CEO Wade Hall presented the easement to the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust today during a ceremony on the property. Kat Nelson, Director of Land Protection for the Land Trust, accepted the easement on behalf of the Land Trust.

“We are excited to be able to protect this very special property from development and to preserve the habitat of the black bear population,” said Lynda Stuckey Franklin. “This is a great testimony to the stewardship which our family wishes to exercise in forestland management; a legacy which was passed to us by my father. We hope to pass that legacy on to the next generations of our family.”

Katherine Eddins, Executive Director of the Land Trust said, “This is our first conservation easement protecting significant bear habitat. Thank you to Stuckey Timberland for protecting this unique and precious resource.”

Stuckey Timberland and the Stuckey family have a legacy of excellent stewardship of the land, insisting on the use of forest industry best management practices and sound silvicultural science in the management of the forest lands owned by the family.   Further, they have supported the conservation of critical wildlife habitat and environmentally sensitive properties. As a member of Congress representing coastal and central Georgia counties from 1967 through 1977, Bill Stuckey sponsored the legislation which created the Cumberland Island National Seashore and the Okefenokee Swamp Wilderness Area.

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust today praised a bipartisan congressional vote that makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation.

Farmers, ranchers and the public will directly benefit from the incentive that encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources. Georgia-Alabama Land Trust was among the 1,100 land trusts to support the incentive through a collaborative, multi-year campaign. uscapitol-washingtondc-picture1-001

“This will have significant impact on land conservation in our community,” said Katherine Eddins, Executive Director of the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust. “We are grateful to Congress and our local representatives for this important legislation.”

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust is a member of the Land Trust Alliance, the national land conservation organization that led the campaign for permanence.

In a strong bipartisan action, the House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bills that included the tax incentive.

First enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than 2 million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage. The incentive grants certain tax benefits to landowners who sign a conservation easement. Such private, voluntary agreements with local land trusts permanently limit uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Lands placed into conservation easements can continue to be farmed, hunted or used for other specified purposes. The lands also remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies.

Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired Dec. 31, 2014.

 

Every Friday we will  feature and flashback to one of our easement landowners. These stories are updates on profiles written by Frank McIntosh.

John Summerford grew up in Falkville in north Alabama. His family worked a small farm and raised chickens, hogs and pigs. In addition to the farm chores, he was head checkout clerk at the family grocery store at age 8 and worked at the family’s nursing home. Summerford quotes his father regarding all the hard work : “We get to put our feet under the table at night and eat.”

John Summerford

John Summerford

Summerford left Falkville to attend medical school at the University of Alabama. Graduating in 1986, he set up practice in Tuscaloosa. At that time, an ongoing soybean “bubble” burst, and good land was available in Pickens and Sumter counties. Summerford purchased the first half of the easement property and added adjacent properties, eventually reaching the 1713 acres protected by a 2009 conservation easement conveyed to the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust.

“The idea was to run to cattle on the property,” Summerford says, and the family herd at one point numbered 350 Beefmaster purebreds. “When my father’s health began to fail and he couldn’t help with management of the property, it became more than I could handle along with my practice.”

The Summerfords sold most of their cattle and now lease a good portion of the pasturelands on this Black Belt tract and have worked to convert 800 acres back to forest and wildlife habitat. Summerford has been devoted to wildlife management since his youth, winning 4-H and FFA Youth Conservationist of the Year and Wildlife Efficiency Awards. He continues this passion, following Deer Management Association guidelines for keeping the deer herds healthy.

Summerford’s forester also has him replacing Sawtooth oaks with Red and White Oaks, which produce acorns in the winter, when the mast is most beneficial. He is also working to improve conditions for quail on the property and has spotted three wild coveys there.

Asked his least favorite aspect of land ownership, Summerford, obviously thinking on a winter rainy spell, offered, “Cold, wet and muddy. I’ve pretty much given up driving on the properties until things dry out a bit. There’s just not enough cable in the winch.”

Summerford Property

Summerford Property

Summerford says his motivation for doing the conservation easements was in part passed on to him by his parents. “We were raised with great morals and ideals, part of which was that we should be stewards of the land. We need to be friends of the public and the land.” He takes this notion very seriously and beyond the easement has set up trusts to govern the land at the time of his death. “Generations from now we will still maintain these uses of the land.”