By Beth Wytiaz, Executive Director

On May 9th and 10th I had the pleasure of attending the North Carolina Land Trust Assembly in which the majority of Land Trusts in the state came together in Valle Crucis to share best practices and the latest news. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to meet peers across the state in my second week at DLC. The heads of NC State Parks, NC Land and Water Fund, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the US Forest Service and National Park Service for NC and Davidson resident, Jeff Michael the NC Deputy Secretary, Natural Resources.

State representatives outlined the recent report from the American Farmland Trust which shows that “North Carolina is the second-most threatened state in the U.S. for losing farmland. The state is expected to lose nearly 1.2 million acres of agriculture by 2040, and this can already be seen by the 20% farmland loss Mecklenburg and Wake counties have seen in the past decade.” They also pointed to Governor Cooper’s recent Executive Order 305 which set statewide goals to conserve one million acres of forests and wetlands, restore one million acres of forests and wetlands, and plant one million urban trees. In addition it was noted that there is positive bi-partisan support for funding and projects along with discussions to consider bringing back the Conservation Tax Credit.

The two days were packed full of informational and engaging sessions in which I learned a lot and forged valuable relationships with peers. There was also a sentiment of hope around the positive momentum for increased land conservation amid real challenges across our state as outlined above. I walked away feeling energized, inspired and grateful to be a part of the Davidson community and especially Davidson Lands Conservancy as this work is more important than ever.