By Sarah Baulac, Education and Research Intern
This morning I had the opportunity to listen to Christian Freitag, Executive Director of the Sycamore Land Trust, talk about his career and the non-profit in my Law and Public Affairs class.
The Sycamore Land Trust is a non-profit based right here in Bloomington (cool!). Their main mission is to conserve land in Southern Indiana. The organization began in 1990 and has since acquired over 8,000 acres.
To conserve land SLT can purchase it or contract a conservation easement for the property. These efforts have been managed by working with a cornucopia of different types of stakeholders- federal agencies, corporations, private landowners, and other non-profits to name a few. Sycamore Land Trust expands its services into 26 Indiana counties.
Besides all of the awesome things that SLT does, one point really stuck with me from Dr. Freitag’s presentation: it’s not going to be beneficial to the cause to peg someone as the bad guy (or the good guy, for that matter).
As environmentalists, I think it is easy to blame the “big, bad” corporations. Instead, we should focus on our goals and work with the other team to come up with a mutually beneficial situation. It would serve us to forget about our pre-conceived notions and go into a situation with an open mind and a willingness to collaborate. While the goals of the two organizations may not be the same, I’d be willing to bet that common threads can (usually) be found between the two agendas. I think it goes without saying that collaboration may be difficult between two inherently different causes, but dropping the stereotypes and labels would be a step in the right direction. So much of sustainability is thinking about the whole system and working with, not against, whatever (and whomever) is included in that.
Please consider donating your time or other resources to the Sycamore Land Trust. You can find more information here: http://sycamorelandtrust.org/about
A special thank-you to Christian Freitag for the informative discussion and his dedication to preserving the environment.
Map and information found on the Sycamore Land Trust website- http://sycamorelandtrust.org/