Protecting land – Fundraising campaign near goal

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO — The Piedmont Land Conservancy, a 10-year-old Greensboro nonprofit that protects land in nine Triad-area counties, has nearly completed a $1.5 million capital campaign to support six projects – and has big plans for saving more land.

The group, which has protected 1,400 acres with a market value of $13 million, already has raised nearly $1.2 million in its “Saving Piedmont Lands” campaign, says Kathy Treanor, its executive director.         

The funds will be used to buy four high-priority land areas, protect another that is being donated and plan a greenway trail from Winston-Salem to Greensboro.

During the current campaign, which began in late 1998, the group also undertook a separate effort that raised $3.75 million to buy Price Park in Greensboro.

Treanor says conservancy aims within five years to have protected a total of roughly 18,000 acres.

To do that, the group is making preliminary plans for yet another capital campaign in about two years to raise about $2 million.

A key strategy in protecting land, Treanor says, is encouraging individuals to donate land or easements – the right to develop land, along with the legal promise that it never will be developed.

In approaching potential land donors, she says, the conservancy emphasizes potential income and property tax benefits, as well as estate tax benefits that ease the burden on the donors’ heirs.

“Love of the land and having the conservancy carry on their wishes forever to protect the land is also a strong motivator,” she said.

The conservancy has come a long way since it was created during a meeting in Treanor’s dining room in 1990.

Treanor, who had owned an interior plantscaping firm, volunteered for the conservancy during its first five years before becoming its first staff member in 1995.

Projects to be funded with money raised from the current campaign include protecting Ridges Mountain in Randolph County; Flat Shoals Mountain in Stokes County; a historic ford on the Dan River; a site in Rockingham County to protect water quality and recreation; and the Emily Allen Wildflower Preserve in Winston-Salem.

The biggest foundation donors to the campaign are the Weaver Foundation, Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation and Kathleen Price Bryan Family Fund.

The biggest corporate donors are BB&T, Wachovia and Klaussner Furniture in Asheboro.

For information, call 336-691-0088.

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