Timed to coincide with its 20th anniversary in 2011, the Harford Land Trust recently announced the launch of its three-year Campaign to Preserve Our Lands, which is designed to increase awareness and raise funds to further land preservation in Harford County.

The goal is to raise $250,000 for its various land preservation initiatives, the Harford Land Trust said in a news release.

While the campaign was officially launched at HLT's annual meeting in March 2011, the initial phase of the campaign solicited donations exclusively from current members and past donors, Harry Webster, president of the nonprofit's board of directors, said in the release.

During this "quiet phase," Webster explained, several generous gifts were made to the HLT, including one substantial donation that was matched through 100 percent participation by the Harford Land Trust Board of Directors.


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HLT is kicking off the next phase of its campaign by reaching out to the general public for support.

As of early December, the Harford Land Trust said it has raised $60,000 toward its goal of $250,000.

"It is the goal of the HLT to become the citizens' institution that keeps giving… from next month through hundreds of years from now, when sensitive watersheds, natural open space and agriculture are threatened," Webster said in the news release. "During an era of historic growth and expansion in Harford County, this campaign will position us to be successful in protecting these irreplaceable natural resources."

Organized in 1991 by local residents, the HLT joins more than 52 other land trusts protecting land throughout Maryland. The HLT provides Harford County landowners, both private and public, with resources and tools to help them conserve their land and protect the natural resources.

To date, HLT has helped protect more than 10,109 acres, holds easements on another 1,226 acres and has acquired 204 acres for public use. Among the organization's first efforts was the acquisition and preservation of Kilgore Falls in northern Harford County, one of the state's highest natural waterfalls that is now part of Rocks State Park.

The HLT has also provided technical and financial assistance to numerous landowners who want to preserve their land. HLT is also an active partner with other similar organizations, assisting them in their preservation efforts..

Most recently, according to the news release, the HLT has completed acquisition of the Rodgers Tract, examined eight new land projects and received two grants from the Summer T. McKnight Foundation and Maryland Environmental Trust. The HLT has also developed and implemented several new policies toward accreditation by the national Land Trust Alliance.

The HLT is a volunteer-driven nonprofit, comprised of a board of directors and 500 members. There are several ways for Harford County residents to join in the HLT's efforts to protect and preserve Harford County's agricultural and natural landscapes, including becoming a member or volunteer, making a donation or sponsoring its Campaign to Preserve Our Lands.

For more information, visit http://www.harfordlandtrust.org or call 410-836-2103.