MLTN Infoline – May 13, 2020

Ticks and Lyme Disease: What You Can Do

In a previous Infoline we alerted you to the fact that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. It’s been a chilly spring but ticks are out in force nonetheless. With the current influx of users to our land trust lands, let’s make sure we are doing everything we can to prepare and remind folks about how they can reduce their risk of getting a tick bite
Another constructive action we can take against Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses is to help with tick studies. University of Maine is  looking for people who own properties in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Kennebec, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York Counties to be part of their tick surveillance program. The citizen scientists will collect ticks for identification and testing for associated pathogens, and send them to the university for analysis. Online training and collection materials, including drag cloths and vials, will be provided. Sign up to register your interest here. This is a two year project; if spaces for this summer fill they will try to fit you in for next year. 
Stay safe out there,
Whit , Jeff , and Donna

Conducting Business Remotely

An issue that has come up in recent land trust meetings is whether members and boards can legally hold votes by phone or Zoom. We checked into this and put together a short bulletin that should answer most of your questions. If after reading the bulletin you still aren’t sure where your land trusts stands, please consult an attorney for a definitive answer. 

Survey Results on Climate Change Actions

Last September, Open Space Institute and the Land Trust Alliance invited you and other land trusts across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, to take a brief survey to reflect on how conservation organizations in the region are addressing climate change. The results have have been published in an interesting infographic you can check out here,  and will inform future training and resources. Thanks to all who participated!

Financial Management of Restricted Gifts

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

2:00 – 3:30 pm
Instructor: Kay Sohl
Cost: $65 Land Trust Alliance members | $100 non-members

This webinar provides a  step-by-step check-up for the systems your land trust needs to make tracking gifts and grants with donor restrictions accurate, consistent, and easy to explain. Designed for executive directors, development directors and fiscal directors/CFOs, this webinar will cover how you can reduce audit costs and save future leaders of your land trust headaches in untangling confusing records and reports on restricted gifts. Explore with nonprofit financial expert Kay Sohl strategies to save time and increase accuracy in tracking receipt of gifts and pledges with restrictions and the proper use of donor restricted gifts. You will learn to:

  • Identify and document donor restrictions
  • Avoid unnecessary donor restrictions
  • Distinguish donor restrictions from board designations
  • Track the use of donor restricted funds
  • Deal with permanently restricted gifts
Learn more and register on the Land Trust Alliance website. 

Appraisal Update: What Land Trusts Need to Know

Thursday, May 28th, 2020
2:00 – 3:30 pm
Cost:  $65 Land Trust Alliance members | $100 non-members
Qualified appraisals are the lynchpin of the process that allows landowners to benefit from federal income, estate and state tax incentives flowing from the donation of a conservation easement. A poorly supported, inflated or abusive appraisal, whether fraudulent or merely sloppy, damages the integrity of a conservation easement transaction regardless of the conservation values involved. It also damages the reputation of the land trust involved in the transaction, risks violating the public trust and may reduce support for conservation in general. Participants will:
  • Discuss Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices requirements regarding appraisals of conservation easements
  • Explore common appraisal issues identified by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
  • Receive techniques for identifying potentially abusive appraisals and strategies for communicating with landowners in such situations
  • Stay up-to-date on recent case law and trends from IRS challenges to conservation easement deductions
  • Work through real-world case studies and pose questions to an experienced attorney and appraiser
  • Know what to look for in appraisals concerning economic and social impacts of the COVID crisis
Register at LTA’s website.

The Executive Director Performance Review (Partner Webinar)

This webinar is offered thanks to a partnership between MANP, Washington Nonprofits and Third Sector Company.
It can be extremely challenging for a board of directors to provide a timely, thoughtful and fair evaluation of the chief professional officer. For some, the entire process can seem cumbersome and overwhelming. For others, it can be viewed as a political landmine. Yet, establishing an organizational process for setting goals, creating check-ins, and providing useful feedback lay the cornerstone for a culture of accountability and a commitment to developing and cultivating talent.
This one-hour overview of executive leadership performance planning and review provides a framework for board members and executives to begin conversations to construct a review process that reflects a year-round commitment to executive success, mutual accountability between management and governance, and a climate of talent development, retention, and succession.
Get all the details and a link to register on MANP’s website. 

Professional Trailbuilders Association Guidance on Trailwork

The Professional Trailbuilders Association (PTBA) recognizes that trails are an important facility for mental and physical health. While jurisdictions and timing will vary, in many cases, the construction of trails and recreational facilities has been deemed an essential service. To protect the health and safety of staff, while working to follow all public health guidelines, PTBA has issued recommendations for all trailbuilders and partners who are continuing to operate. Recognizing that this is an evolving situation, PTBA will continue to monitor and update these policies as new guidelines and recommendations are issued.